[FOUNTAIN]World Cup and reunification

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[FOUNTAIN]World Cup and reunification

Since the day of victory, it seems that people walk down the street lightly wearing smiling faces. Who cares whether they bump into others on the street?

We feel the whole rise of the nation. This morning, we would like to forgive everybody, even persons we hated before.

You may question whether I exaggerate our first victory in the World Cup as the rise of the nation. But if we feel pleasure in our daily lives, what can we not do? The rise of the nation is simple. When 40 million South Koreans or 70 million Koreans in the North and South combined are excited over one thing, the nation will rise.

A similar case in World Cup history can be seen in Germany. Their victory in the World Cup concentrated national energy and led the country to development. In 1954's World Cup games in Switzerland, the Germans defeated Hungary 3-2. They stopped Hungary's string of 33 victories in international soccer competition, but that was only a prelude to Germany's return to the international community. That victory restored the self-esteem of the Germans, for whom memories of World War II were fresh. The triumph in Switzerland led the Germans to the economic "miracle on the Rhine."

In the 1974 World Cup finals, the German team was led by Franz Beckenbauer, the Kaiser of soccer. They beat the Dutch 2-1. Germany had staged the Olympic Games in Munich two years earlier; both those international sports events helped boost Germany's economy.

Historic summit talks between the East and West Germanies had taken place four years earlier and their effects were clear. The German governments installed resident missions in Berlin and Bonn respectively that year. Those events drove Germans to reunification.

On July 8, 1990, we saw another World Cup soccer victory by West Germany 16 years after they beat the Dutch. Germany defeated Argentina 1-0. I happened to be in Berlin then and experienced the feeling of the rise of Germany. Shouting Deutschland!, Germans poured into the streets. It seemed that no one could stop them. They had already completed a monetary union with their eastern brethren and Germany's unification was under way. Three months later, on Oct. 3, came reunification.

To Germans, the World Cup was motivation to the nation. Now the opportunity is coming to us. Let's look for unification after the World Cup.

The writer is a Berlin correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Yoo Jae-sik

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