Being in Germany (DE) for any football championship is an amazing experience. The fans go all out supporting the DE team, which creates a great atmosphere. The after-match celebration (assuming DE wins) is wild with people lighting fireworks in the streets, cars flooding the streets with horns blaring, and people standing on street corners waving the DE flag. The noise is loud and the celebration goes on all night.
The public expressing of support and enthusiasm for DE's football team only started in 2006 when DE hosted the World Cup. Before 2006, all Germans were taught to restrain any pride for their nation. As one friend put it "When you cause 2 world wars, you learn not to enter into any more wars and not to sing praises outloud about your country." DE won the World Cup in 1954, 1974, and 1990. However, there were no public celebrations, cheering or flag waving after these wins. Typical Germans support their local canton (i.e. state) teams, instead of the national team.
To show the world that DE could "put on a good party" for the 2006 World Cup, the government set-up public viewing sites in all cities. At the public viewings, tourists and locals came together to watch the matches on huge screens. The govenment also offered deals, like cheap rail tickets to matches, to inspire Germans to get out, spend money, and support their team. The 2006 DE football team showcased 50% of the players from different ethnic backgrounds - a first for the DE national football team. This acceptance of diversity prompted many German immigrants to support the DE team. Additionally, many DE teachers used the World Cup to teach (ex: teaching foreign language by using football words).
The 2008 EuroCup was great. The 2010 WorldCup has also been amazing... Germans are still out in full force supporting their team. This evening, I'll watch the DE v. ES match at a public viewing and will be rooting for DE!
(Video footage shows the round-about in HD center after the DE v. AR match; normally there is no traffic here)