This post is explained below the italics:
I’d always wanted to sing the German national anthem in chorus with 50,000 or so others, having learned the Deutschlandlied word for word a few years back when I did some German night classes. That the opportunity to do so arose on one of the most poignant evenings in sport in recent years made it all the more special.
Those three words mean unity, justice and freedom. Tuesday evening’s Germany v Netherlands match was far more about those three words than a game between two historic rivals.
The friendly match in Hannover was one I’d booked weeks ago, as part of our “mini-moon” trip to Berlin following myself and Clare’s wedding this Saturday past. It then became clear that, with a 2045 kickoff and a 2230 last train from Hannover to Berlin, we’d have to miss at least the last 15 minutes, and probably the last half an hour, to make sure we made our high speed ICE back to the capital.
As it was, in the context of Friday’s events and Europe’s defiance in the face of its terrorist enemy, it was something I was very happy to do. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that most steadfast of world leaders, was in attendance in Hannover.
I had written this (rather good in my opinion) introduction to a blog post on tonight’s game, prior to leaving for Berlin this morning. Unfortunately, the match has been called off as a result of what appear to be credible threats. From a more selfish point of view, I wonder how much football tourism I’ll be able to do in the coming months and years. This is a terrorist threat that for some reason despises our way of life – I hope that someone has the means and brains to stop them.
I’ll also happily admit to being scared. Having got married on Saturday in particular and with my new wife (as ever) by my side, it was a horrible feeling getting back to Hannover Hauptbahnhof, waiting for the train to leave and following the ever more lurid rumours on Twitter. However, we are back safe and determined to enjoy the rest of our time in Berlin.