Slovenia vs. Slovakia - a (football) match made in heaven


Slovenia and Slovakia share a common problem. They are both victims of identity theft, because they, well, they look the same. They have a similar name, they have a similar national flag, they even have a similar post socialistic "my previous country is now ten countries" story. Luckily, they also share a similar newly appointed capitalistic EU success. Slovenia and Slovakia are the first two transitional countries to enter the European monetary union. We did it two years before. And we won the football match yesterday.

As a part of qualifications for the world cup 2010, a football match happened in Bratislava, Slovakia, between Slovenia and Slovakia. Some foreigners who were watching it, probably thought "what's wrong with these guys, why is a country competing against itself?". Because it's two countries, you idiot. Slovenia, Slovakia, don't you see the difference between an "n" and a "k"? Well, no. The truth is, that's understandable, Slovenia and Slovakia look the same. Or is it Slovekia and Slovania?

George W. Bush confused Slovenia and Slovakia once. Other great performances include playing the wrong anthem on political and sport events. Awkward and embarassing indeed.

The story of a country, trying not to be another country, is a bit sad. It influences people, identity and patriotism. Almost everybody I know feels this itch in the back of our country's recognition and branding in the global society. But it's too late (and not acceptable) to change the name or at least the national flag after so many years. Therefore we have nothing left but to make the most out of it. I wonder how Slovaks feel about it.

This unique situation could actually become a competitive advantage for both countries. Hey, we are the only two countries in the world that look the same. Who cares about the other 200 countries, they actually resemble each other even more - none of them have another country that's the same as theirs. Perhaps we are even some lost cousins that went separate ways sometime in history and will be reunited one day as the first same double country in Europe. Infinite possibilities.

After these thoughts I feel better and a bit proud to be a part of this funny situation. Go Slovakia (as long as it's not football)!

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written 11.10.2009 16:57 CET on chronolog
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