Joachim Floryszak, fan and dedicated volunteer
© FIFA.com

"Over! Over! Over! The game is over and Germany are the world champions!" Words familiar to every German, tumbling from the lips of the ecstatic radio reporter Herbert Zimmermann on 4 July 1954, as referee Bill Ling blew the final whistle in the FIFA World Cup™ final.

The West Germany team had defeated favourites Hungary 3-2 in the Wankdorf Stadium in Bern and a myth had been born. And Joachim Floryszak, fan and volunteer, is a small part of that myth.

By day, he works for the municipality of Kerpen in Germany. But in his spare time, Joachim's heart beats for football. "I first went to a football club at the age of six and I've been a fan ever since. Unfortunately, I had to give up active playing at 26, so I became a referee. That way, I could continue to indulge my passion for the game."

With a love of football coursing through his veins, as soon as he heard about The Miracle of Bern film project, Floryszak was gripped. "I saw Sonke Wortmann on a TV sports round-up, explaining which players he needed to cast for The Miracle of Bern," he said.

Love of Hungarian food
Joachim met none of the director's conditions: at least first division playing experience, no older than 35 and a passing physical resemblance to one of the German players of 1954. "But I just had to be involved somehow. The Miracle of Bern is the ultimate game in German football history. So I wrote to Wortmann. I said although I didn't meet any of his criteria, I'd make a great Hungarian. I've got an Eastern European surname, I like Hungarian food and I once went on holiday to Lake Balaton. And I attached my football CV," says Floryszak with a grin.

He had to wait a long time for an answer. "A few months later they called me and invited me to casting. Then, in the dressing room, Sonke mentioned that he also wanted to portray a couple of games. In that case, I said, you're going to need referees and linesmen." Joachim's spontaneity paid off. "It was another year before he got the funding and I got the call: 'We're filming the final and you're the referee'."

Three-month haircut ban
Floryszak could hardly believe his luck. He was about to play the English referee in The Miracle of Bern and enter mythology. "It was sensational. I wasn't allowed to cut my hair for three months, because you were supposed to have a quiff in the film," he said.

The amateur actor has only good things to say about the filming. "Working with Sonke Wortmann was fantastic. The FIFA World Cup™ was taking place in Japan and South Korea as we were filming, and I was responsible for getting the results. Once, I came in and shouted, 'Argentina eliminated in the first round!' And Sönke came up to me, put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'We're filming, you know'."

The eager volunteer is equally determined to play a part in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™. "I still remember when Joseph S. Blatter said, 'And the winner is Deutschland'. I knew there and then that I had to be part of it somehow. The next day I sat down and wrote a letter to Franz Beckenbauer, applying to join the Organising Committee."

6 villages for 2006 campaign

Joachim failed to get on to the OC, but he remains undeterred and is loving every moment as a volunteer at the FIFA Confederations Cup Germany. "It's great fun meeting so many people from so many different countries. I've already driven for a South African and a Kuwaiti," he enthused.

Joachim's heart is clearly in the right place. He is already fundraising for the 6 villages for 2006 charity campaign. "We formed a film set team after we made The Miracle of Bern. This year, we're playing for the 6 villages for 2006 charity appeal and we've got enquiries through to 2006. Our biggest game so far is on 31 July 2005, to mark the opening of the new Wankdorf Stadium in Bern." It's a laudable combination of commitment and passion for football that illustrates exactly why volunteers are invaluable to the game.