The last hint of the nickname “The Crew”

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The last hint of the nickname

With the World Cup in Qatar, the seven-year era of “The Team” comes to an end: the nickname imposed by the DFB itself was heavily criticized in this country – and apparently has not really caught on abroad either.

Selecao, Three Lions, Les Bleus, Squadra Azzurra, Elftal: All the major national football teams have always had nicknames that are known around the world. And then there’s Germany, which was mostly just Germany. Germany, Germania, Allemagne, Alemania. It didn’t need a nickname to somehow win anyway. According to international assessment: like a little bit happy or undeserved.

After Germany had actually won quite nicely at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the DFB, in the person of sporting director Oliver Bierhoff, apparently saw the time for their own nickname. As of 2015, the national football association officially marketed its men’s squad as “The Team”. And pretty offensive.

Suddenly “The Crew” was everywhere. On the jerseys, the team bus, in Cyrillic script on T-shirts for Russian children at the 2017 Confederations Cup – and soon above all: in the criticism. The artificial nickname did not catch on among the population. Instead, he became the epitome of the downward trend in sport and the alienation between fans and the national team, which at the end of the Joachim Löw era no longer aroused enthusiasm. Preliminary round at the 2018 World Cup, round of 16 at the EM 2021.

Last summer, the DFB finally put an end to the nickname project: the term “The Team” should no longer be used officially in the future. At the World Cup it is still embroidered on the jerseys, which were already designed before the decision was made. In Qatar there is thus the last breath of “The Team”.

World Cup 2022 – Group E with Germany: The schedule

date time Team A Team B transmission
November 23 14 o’clock Germany Japan ARD, MagentaTV
November 23 17 o’clock Spain Costa Rica ARD, MagentaTV
November 27th 11 clock Japan Costa Rica ZDF, MagentaTV
November 27th 8 p.m Spain Germany ZDF, MagentaTV
December 01 8 p.m Costa Rica Germany ARD, MagentaTV
December 01 8 p.m Japan Spain MagentaTV

DFB team: The nickname “The Team” was quickly criticized

The criticism of the nickname had previously come from all sides: from unknown fans, from big makers, from experts and ex-athletes. Borussia Dortmund’s managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke, for example, called him “too aloof” and “disrespectful compared to all other successful teams”.

That’s how hockey legend Moritz Fürste saw it. “It’s a slap in the face for all the other teams we have in Germany,” said the two-time Olympic champion Focus: “Why is it ‘The Team’ – what makes you capable of it? It’s just a team – one of many.” Record national player Lothar Matthäus, who had led Germany to the World Cup title in 1990, demanded: “‘The team’ has to go!”

At the DFB, the nickname was already in question internally after the 2018 World Cup fiasco, but was initially allowed to stay. “The results of an independent investigation encourage us to continue to hold on to it,” said Bierhoff. According to the study, the term would generate a high level of acceptance, especially among young people and women.

DFB team: The end of “The Team”

In June 2022, in a survey commissioned by the SID but 76.1 percent of those surveyed gave the nickname at least “negative”, 66.7 percent even “very negative”. Shortly thereafter, the DFB announced the end of “The Team”.

DFB President Bernd Neuendorf admitted in a statement that the nickname “is sometimes viewed critically and discussed emotionally in fan circles in this country,” but also said: “Surveys and analyzes showed that the name ‘The Team’ has a high level of awareness and especially recognized abroad.”

The nickname is actually known worldwide, according to reporters from the international newspaper GOALnetwork from the big soccer nations, just like in this country, rather not. “In England, the term ‘The Team’ is almost never used,” says Stephen Darwin, for example. Colleagues from other countries make similar statements.

Nicknames of national teams in other countries

The nickname of the national team “Three Lions” is very popular in England. The three lions feature in the FA logo and are sung about in the English football anthem “Football’s Coming Home”. The nation’s emotional connection to the nickname is enormous, unlike in Germany.

A look at Italy is also interesting: the internationally established “Squadra Azzurra” is hardly ever used there. According to legend, the nickname was invented by French journalists during the 1938 World Cup in France. The Italians themselves speak simply of “Gli Azzurri”, the blue ones. In cheers, the nickname is sometimes even preferred to the nation’s name.

This can be traced back to the right-wing populist politician Silvio Berlusconi, who named his party, founded in 1994, “Forza Italia” after being cheered on. “That’s why many fans now prefer to call ‘Forza Azzurri’ instead,” explains the Italian GOAL-Reporter Giorgio Dusi. In Qatar, however, neither the Blues nor Berlusconi’s party are being cheered on. As is well known, Italy did not qualify – and therefore has to watch the farewell performance of “The Team”.

DFB team – official squad for the 2022 World Cup: players, shirt numbers

Surname

association

position

shirt number

Manuel Neuer

FC Bayern Munich

GATE

1

Marc-André ter Stegen

Barcelona FC

GATE

22

Kevin Trap

Eintracht Frankfurt

GATE

12

Armel Bella Kotchap

Southampton F.C

DEFENSE

25

Niklas Sule

Borussia Dortmund

DEFENSE

15

Thilo Kehrer

West Ham United

DEFENSE

5

David Raum

RB Leipzig

DEFENSE

3

Christian Gunter

Sc freiburg

DEFENSE

20

Antonio Rudiger

real Madrid

DEFENSE

2

Nico Schlotterbeck

Borussia Dortmund

DEFENSE

23

Luke Klosterman

RB Leipzig

DEFENSE

16

Matthew Ginter

Sc freiburg

DEFENSE

4

Joshua Kimmich

FC Bayern Munich

MIDFIELD/ATTACK

6

Leon Goretzka

FC Bayern Munich

MIDFIELD/ATTACK

8th

Ilkay Gundogan

Manchester City

MIDFIELD/ATTACK

21

Mario Götze

Eintracht Frankfurt

MIDFIELD/ATTACK

11

Julian Brandt

Borussia Dortmund

MIDFIELD/ATTACK

17

Serge Gnabry

FC Bayern Munich

MIDFIELD/ATTACK

10

Jonas Hofmann

Borussia Monchengladbach

MIDFIELD/ATTACK

18

Jamal Musiala

FC Bayern Munich

MIDFIELD/ATTACK

14

Thomas Müller

FC Bayern Munich

MIDFIELD/ATTACK

13

Leroy Sane

FC Bayern Munich

MIDFIELD/ATTACK

19

Kai Havertz

Chelsea FC

MIDFIELD/ATTACK

7

Karim Adeyemi

Borussia Dortmund

MIDFIELD/ATTACK

24

Youssouffa Moukoko

Borussia Dortmund

MIDFIELD/ATTACK

26

Niclas filling jug

Werder Bremen

MIDFIELD/ATTACK

9



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