Lt. Col. Sam Burns
First published in
SFOR Informer#142, July 4, 2002
To the casual observer Sunday June 30th seemed like any
other day, but in Rajlovac Base this particular Sunday was
different. As the hour of 1 p.m. fast approached, offices,
work areas and paths emptied of German soldiers except for
those unlucky enough to be chosen for essential tasks or duties.
Against the odds Germany had made it to the Soccer World Cup
final, but could they beat the mighty Brazilians?
Rajlovac - Men of the German 5th SFOR Contingent Signals
Company packed around their television. Hopes were high, Stabsunteroffizier
Gamenz remarked to a colleague: "It will be a good game,
I hope we win."
The first half was full of highs and lows; Germany attacked
well through Schneider and Klose, Brazil punched back with
lightning counter attacks from Ronaldinho and Ronaldo only
to be thwarted by the German goalkeeper Kahn. The atmosphere
in the Jamaika bar was tense; groans and applause matched
the sequence of play. The first half ended with both teams
even, tension eased as highlights and missed chances were
The second half was barely underway when Neuville's powerful
free kick forced a good save from the Brazilian keeper, for
a brief moment everyone was on their feet, applause rippled
in recognition of a good effort.
Ronaldo shot and it was all over
Disaster struck when a weak shot by Ronaldo was spilled by
Kahn, Ronaldo made no mistake with the follow-up, a chorus
of expletives and moans echoed around the room, 1-0 to Brazil.
All present urged their team on but to no avail; Rivaldo dummied
brilliantly, Ronaldo shot perfectly into the lower-right corner
of the net. The second goal brought wails of disappointment
from the soldiers, it was all over.
Capt. Thomas Nemitz, commanding officer for the Signal Company
was philosophical about the result. "It was an interesting
game, the team played better than I thought they would, in
the first half I hoped we could have won. In the second half
they (Brazil) showed their skill, they were much better, they
deserved to win. Germany was lucky to get to the final; they
did not have to play any of the big teams like Italy or France.
Still I am happy the team did as well as they did," he
Nations of SFOR: Germany