WORLD CUP FOOTBALL: When Deutschland came to CC&FC – German glory in former British bastion – giving the brits what they rightly deserve for being complacent and uncaring ?!!
BY ANDI PüHRINGER
I admit that I may not be the typical football fan following each game throughout the year. But the World Cup is the World Cup. And as a German working and living in Calcutta, I was delighted when my friend Debanjan invited me to watch the England vs Germany match at the Calcutta Cricket & Football Club.
Calcutta, with all its football enthusiasm, is anyway a great place to experience such an important match. And the CC&FC is surely the place where the Bengali football fever started long ago.
The English football team has always been feared in Germany. And, when you are sitting in a football club founded by some British guys as long ago as 1792, you understand why. England has been a great football nation not just for years but for centuries.
Packed with football fans, the atmosphere in the club was great. The match could be seen in both the bars and in the restaurant downstairs. Debanjan and I got seats on a leather sofa just in front of one of the big screens. Perfect!
The match started with great speed. Soon a goal-kick from the German goalkeeper, Neuer, landed far within the English half, where nobody seemed to feel responsible until Klose outmuscled Upson and placed the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the English goal.
“Tor! Tor! Tor!” as we would shout in Germany.
The atmosphere was rocking and it was heartening to see the entire audience cheering for both sides. Debanjan and I were the exceptions: he only cheered for England and I for Germany!
It felt as if I was at home except when my beer arrived in one of these small 300ml glasses. To really enjoy a football match a South German normally needs a Weizenbier served in nicely shaped half-litre glasses to boost his spirits throughout the match. But then, the succulent kebabs in the Club nearly made up for that.
Perhaps the only weak moment was when the English goal did not get counted. Even I nearly felt slightly bad when the TV replays showed how Lampard’s shot, which hit the underside of the bar, was well over the goal-line. Well, I guess one could consider that a late payback for Geoff Hurst’s shot in 1966. Sorry, Debanjan!
But what a match! 4:1!
Both sides played outstanding football. Later, even some of my Brazilian friends in town agreed that this had been the best match in this World Cup so far.
Thank you Thomas Muller for your two goals, thanks Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski for your strikes. Thanks Schweinsteiger. Thanks Debanjan for the beer and kebabs. And thank you CC&FC for the outstanding atmosphere. It was a memorable night.
Deutschland! Deutschland! Hurra!
(The author, a German in Calcutta, is the director of an IT company)
Siliguri savours Mueller moment – so why the vain preening, a natural cultural trait ?!!
BY BIRESWAR BANERJEE
Siliguri, June 28: Bapan Bera. Ring a bell, Herr Mueller?
A year and a half before you stunned England with two goals at the World Cup yesterday, Bapan had “felled you” — in a stadium named Kanchenjungha (Kanchanjunga deliberately and irritatingly misspelled – cultural plagiarism ?!!), in a place called Siliguri.
A fate worse than that of England awaited Bapan’s team — it’s a bit of a twister for German and other tongues —Siliguri Mahakuma Krira Parishad XI on January 21, 2009. Thomas Mueller’s FC Bayern Munich beat the Siliguri XI, 6-0.
If the defeat tasted bitter 18 months ago, it turned sweet last night. A “thrilled” Bapan watched on television the quick and powerful German scoring twice at Bloemfontein. “I was thrilled to see him score,” said the young forward, who now plays for Eastern Railways in the Calcutta Premier Division League.
Bayern, accompanied by German football legend Gerd Mueller, had gone to Siliguri as part of a promotional tour. The Bavarian club selected six under-15 players for training in Germany.
Mueller, then 19, scored once in the first half, like his Bayern teammate Holger Badstuber, who sat out yesterday’s match against England.
Shown photographs of the 2009 match, Jayabrata Ghosh, who coached the Siliguri team, confirmed that Bapan had indeed “felled” Mueller.
Bapan doesn’t remember the exact moment he had tackled Mueller. “I was too excited,” he said. “I was playing against Bayern Munich and I gave everything I had.”
He wanted a copy when told of the picture of him and Mueller on the ground. “Wow! I’ll frame it,” he said. “It’s a lifetime achievement.”
Bapan remembers Mueller’s advice at the post-match dinner. “He told us to look after our physique and increase stamina.”
For some, realisation dawned in front of television. Said Gopal Pal, a member of the Siliguri XI: “I watched Mueller score last night, then suddenly realised I had played against him. I am proud.”