On Saturday, it was in the innermost heart of the English fan onslaught that I was lucky to find a place. England had overtaken Frankfurt in full force! A sea of white and red wherever the eye peered. For a moment as English fans streamed almost endlessly past the European Central Bank, it was like the Eurozone was about to capitulate to the latest attempt by the Bank of England to re-assert the British pound. A few metres away at the central train station, God Save the Queen had already been sung out as loudly and clearly as a midday Heineken Beer could permit!
The picturesque stadium soon reverberated with choruses of â€œItâ€™s coming homeâ€ and â€œYouâ€™ll never walk aloneâ€! The white and red of England mingled with the natural green of early summer and the deep blue of a clear sky to produce a breath-taking moment.
England though wasnâ€™t alone! Many other nations, not least Paraguay, were represented at the global ensemble. Both bridges overlooking the scene were packed to the brim. Occasionally, a tourist sight-seeing ship passed by, inciting fresh rounds of celebratory song. Then followed in the evening, with temperatures down and the river thrown into romantic spell by a golden sunset, the best match so far. Argentina against Ivory Coast. How the game can explode in its sweetness and captivating power! Africa now enticed the river!
The symbolism for the dream of global peace and friendship could not be overlooked. We could after all dwell together in respect and mutual understanding. We are fundamentally one and equal and trustees of the God-given gift to inspire each other to excellence in cultured interstate competition.
The German president, Horst Koehler, could not have put it more succinctly in his statement the day before when he said, â€œMay football unite the peoples of the world!â€
May football unite this world!