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 Posted by Stephan Uersfeld
Jul 16, 2014

Germany criticised over 'Gauchogate'

A controversial dance by a group of Germany international players during the World Cup festivities in Berlin on Tuesday has triggered a debate in the country over how to celebrate winning the tournament.

On Tuesday, hundreds of thousands welcomed Die Nationalmannschaft back home on the streets of Berlin and the "Fan Mile", where the official party for the world champions took place in front of the Brandenburg Gate.

The Germany players, who had been living in apartments of six at the Campo Bahia -- the squad's tournament base in Brazil -- were called out in groups by the presenters of the show, and had thought of special ways to take the stage.

Flatmates Andre Schurrle, Mario Gotze, Miroslav Klose, Toni Kroos, Roman Weidenfeller, and Skhodran Mustafi entered the stage stooping and singing "that's how the Gauchos walk", before standing tall and singing "and that's how the Germans walk" -- a fan chant originating from the Bundesliga at the beginning of the century, used to belittle defeated opponents.

While the capacity crowd of 300,000 at the Brandenburg Gate celebrated the "Gaucho dance", it did not go down too well with parts of the German media, who dubbed the performance "Gauchogate" and questioned whether it is right to ridicule an opponent defeated in a World Cup final.

"The celebrations at the Brandenburg gate turned into a gigantic own goal," the conservative broadsheet FAZ said, and complained that "the German world champions jeopardised their image as an open minded, tolerant nation."

The left-wing paper taz published a highly critical article on the German football association's marketing efforts at the celebration, stating: "The absurd staging of the marketing-fan-mile-truck-parade was crowned by a performance of the Nationalmannschaft lacking modesty."

Germany's biggest news magazine Der Spiegel headlined: "Triumphant national team players: Gotze, Klose & Co ridicule the Argentines," while the weekly Die Zeit ran with: "Ridiculous appearance during the victory celebration."

However, in their upcoming print issue, the paper will include a poster by German artist Daniel Richter: it depicts Miroslav Klose doing his somersault, Mats Hummels controlling the ball, Bastian Schweinsteiger injured on the ground, and an Argentina player trotting off the pitch.

"I wanted do pay tribute to the fact that there will be no winner when there is no loser," Richter told meedia.de.

"The Gaucho dance was a crazy idea," Die Welt argued. "Indeed, it was no tour de force. But you also don't have to overdo it," they added.

On Wednesday morning, a comment piece on Tageschau.de, the online outlet of German TV network ARD's main news show, read: "Politics, society and football are of course connected to each other. But football, or respectively what is taken for football, should not take the main role.

"Otherwise incidents like "Gauchogate" are blown out of proportion. Triumphant, and evidently half-drunk young man performed a dance, which you can think of as funny or disparaging or ridiculous.

"You can argue over that. But it's not an event of world-historical meaning, but rather pure Ballermann [a a holiday destination in Mallorca popular with Germans, synonymous with drunk young men celebrating] culture."

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