From a little while ago, Robert Mackey in the NYT blog The Lede:
That a German player named Mesut Özil scored the goal that sent his nation through to the second round of this year’s World Cup is a sign that something fundamental has changed about what it means to be German. A country which, until quite recently, refused to give citizenship even to the German-born children of immigrants now finds itself represented by a squad of 23 players so ethnically diverse that 11 of them could have chosen to play instead for other nations.
The Telegraph’s Duncan White explained that the new Germans are drawn not just from neighboring countries that traditionally supplied Gastarbeiter to German industry, but also from across the globe:
While there have been several Polish-Germans of Silesian background to have played for Germany (including Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski in this squad), Joachim Löw’s team also has players of Bosnian-Serb, Brazilian, Ghanaian, Nigerian, Polish, Tunisian and Turkish descent.
As my colleague Rob Hughes reported in The Times, it is important not to get carried away with the melting pot narrative:
Not all Germans embrace with open arms this son of Turkish descent who reads the Koran before games. But there are 1.7 million people of Turkish origin in Germany, and with the national team, the Mannschaft, becoming a league of many nations, there could be more nights like this, more new heroes like Özil.
Something like the inverse of this story is playing out across the Rhine in France.