The paper examines the nature of contemporary football: does it play any function beyond the scope of just sheer entertainment? According to the author of the article, the answer is 'yes' - and that is why a variety of national and political dimensions of football matches were presented here. References in the paper cite dramatic events (e.g., the war in former Yugoslavia) as well as seemingly unimportant manifestations, such as people painting their faces with national colors - all with football in the background. In the first case, we have an example of ethnic hatred that can be traced back to football stadiums. In the second case, however, there is a clear reference to Michael Billig's conception of banal nationalism, accounting for many everyday gestures, which although performed unconsciously and with no chauvinistic intensions, usually point at the real significance of national feelings in one's life. Although on the margins of mainstream discussions, a couple of observations on the idea of national characteristics in football styles of particular teams (e.g., Polish, Italian, etc.) were presented in the text. Some attention was also paid to Lukas Podolski - a Polish born German footballer who may embody the inability to determine one's national identity. Podolski was called here 'a man of borderland', which is a reference to its individualistic-cultural dimension.
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