“Football is a wonderful means of promoting understanding”

10.06.2016 - Interview

Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier talks about UEFA Euro 2016, which begins in France today (10 June) in an interview with The German Press Agency. Published on 10 June 2016.

Who do you think will win the European championship, and why?

We are certainly one of the favourites, and as reigning world champions we can go into the tournament full of confidence. But I also expect the French hosts, Belgium and defending champions Spain to be right at the front in the battle for the title. There will undoubtedly be some nail‑biting matches. Hopefully this time, too, we will have that extra spark of willpower and good fortune we need to win the title.

Where and when will you be watching the games?

I hope that my office and political developments in the coming weeks will allow me a little time to watch Germany play at least. I’m not yet sure where that will be. I will probably watch the first match against Ukraine on Sunday in Beijing during the Sino‑German intergovernmental consultations.

What was your greatest‑ever football moment?

The 2‑1 win by TUS 08 Brakelsiek versus their arch‑rivals Schwalenberg last century; it must have been around 1972.

Have the terrorist attacks in Paris (during the friendly between France and Germany last November) dampened your enthusiasm for Euro 2016?

I was in the Stade de France on 13 November and experienced first hand the shock of the terrorist attacks in Paris, but also the determination and solidarity of the French people.

I am convinced that our French friends have done all that is humanly possible to ensure that matches that are exciting, peaceful and safe can take place throughout the country.

Football is a wonderful, maybe even the best means of promoting understanding across all borders, whether they be language‑related, ethnic, religious or cultural.

In the realm of football we have already achieved the great dream of a united Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok, from Iceland to Turkey.

This interview was conducted by Christoph Sator.

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