Germany: Singing the anthem
Mesut Özil, Turkish-German footballer on the national team, in an interview by Kölner Express (h/t PI)
Q: Turkey is absent from the World Cup
A: It's a real shame that Turkey was eliminated. The Germans, I'll keep my fingers crossed. If the Turks were now maybe also playing, I would have been even happier
Q: What do you think when before the game you hear the national anthem?
A: I'm naturally proud. And I pray verses from the Koran - that gives me strength. If I wouldn't do that, I would have a bad feeling.
In the National:
If he lives up to expectations in the World Cup, Özil will become a national hero, which would give a much-needed boost to the 2.8 million residents with Turkish roots who are struggling to be accepted into German society.
He opted in 2007 to give up his Turkish citizenship so that he could be selected for Germany. “This is not a decision against my Turkish roots,” he said at the time. “But my family has now lived in Germany for three generations, I grew up here and always felt at home here. This is where I got my opportunities in junior teams.”
Despite choosing Germany over Turkey, he does not sing the German anthem ahead of matches.
Some traditionalists, for example, grumble about Under-21 players not singing the national anthem, which is always played before internationals. "We sometimes get letters of complaint if someone doesn't sing along. But sometimes fans complain about the players' hair styles too. You can't please everyone," says Bierhoff. The manager of the German football team does not consider immobile lips during the national anthem to be proof that someone doesn't identify with the country for which he is playing.
"It's a personal matter. Some of them have a close bond with the country of their parents. We require members of the team to be respectful and behave in a certain way, but we do not stipulate that they sing the national anthem," says Bierhoff.
Dennis Aogo shares this laid-back attitude: "People shouldn't attach too much importance to it. I don't sing the national anthem and I am still proud to play for Germany." And if the boys actually manage to win the European Under-21 Championships, it is unlikely that anyone will complain about them not singing the anthem. It would be interesting to see if Angela Merkel would change her mind about the failure of multiculturalism if they did.