In 1956, the Soviet Union invaded Hungary to extinguish a nascent movement toward independence. The Soviet invasion was brutal, complete with artillery bombardments and air strikes. Thousands of Hungarians were killed, and tens of thousands fled to the West. (My college soccer coach was a Hungarian emigre who left in 1956.)
Later that year, at the Melbourne Summer Olympics, the Hungarian water polo team met the Soviet Union’s team. The Hungarians extracted a price in blood for lives and freedom lost, winning the match 4-0. Sports legend claims that at the end of the game, the water in the Olympic-size pool was pink, leading to the name “The Blood in the Water” match.
Today Germany meets Greece in the quarter-finals of the Euro 2012 football (soccer) competition. Nobody has invaded anybody. Greek resentment centers around austerity imposed as a condition for financial rescue. German resentment centers around the need to transfer hundreds of billions of Euros to a population that thinks it normal to retire at 52 with full pension from dangerous jobs like hair-styling. (Germans retire at 67.)
Germany is the heavy favorite. Should be some good soccer, with the European financial crisis as background to give it greater meaning. Today, Friday June 22 at 2:45 p.m. on ESPN.