Two world wars… oh let’s grow up

June 25, 2010

SOCCER-WORLD/George Orwell famously described sport as “war minus the shooting” and that seems to be the way many English approach a World Cup encounter with Germany.

Dubious jokes are circulating equating the 2010 World Cup with the 1939-1945 World War (don’t ask). The  British press  are riding a wave of jingoism with Kaiser Franz (Beckenbauer, that is) cast in the role of bogeyman in chief and plenty of Herr puns.

There are fears that England fans will revert to boorish type in Bloemfontein on Sunday after their unblemished behaviour in the tournament so far. The combination of a sweltering weekend, plenty of drinks and the big game on Sunday will doubtless fray the nerves of many of the folk back home.

The whole attitude is summed up by the tasteless “two World Wars and one World Cup chant” and the  Spitfire impersonations.

But isn’t it time we got over this? Isn’t all this harking back to 1966 a sign of our weakness and insecurity?

That was one World Cup but most of us are too young to remember it, even if we were alive to see it.

There have been plenty of World Cups since then and we have succumbed to (West) Germany on notable occasions, 1970 when Bonetti took the blame and 1990 when Gazza cried and English dreams died.

Sure it would be great to beat Germany, and victory on penalties would be sweetest of all. But success on the pitch won’t turn the clock back to a mythical golden age when  Britannia ruled the waves.

England v Germany is a great sporting occasion. Let’s celebrate it for what it is — a bit of fun in the summer sun.

And as a reward and test for our new found maturity, we might get to play Argentina in the last eight.


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You are so right, I am sick and tired of the same old tired Jingoism wheeled out every time we play Germany. It highlights all our own insecurities and underlying xenophobia.
The war is over ‘ get over it’

Posted by David201145 | Report as abusive

Spot on.

Posted by macrotrader | Report as abusive

If England beats Germany, Argentina followed by Brazil, then it can claim to be amongst the world’s best….until then it has to be satisfied with beating Slovenia 1-0

Posted by RiskManager | Report as abusive

But they bombed our chippy.

Posted by joey.deehan | Report as abusive

The agitation in England is much bigger than in Germany, and maybe this could be put down to the inferiority complex of the English public when it comes to playing Germany.

“As ever when these two nations meet in sporting competition, the English get far more worked up than the Germans. For England, playing Germany is always a final. Beating the old geopolitical foe – when it happens – is sweeter than lifting any trophy, which, of course, you have to go back 44 years for the last time England did so. What makes it more mouth-watering is that the country they beat back in 1966 was Germany.

The English obsession with beating the Germans is met with bemusement in Germany. Germans get far more animated when drawn against the Dutch – the team they consider to be their real rivals and bitterest opponents.” Deutsche Welle

Posted by valentinv | Report as abusive

If having a few beers dressed up in an inflatable Supermarine Spitfire abusing the Kaiser isn’t having fun in the sun I don’t know what is.

Posted by pinhead | Report as abusive

England may have insecurities about playing Germany in soccer, but Germany did still try to take over the world and murder millions of people.

Posted by WiseNotes | Report as abusive


And the British did not try to take over the world and murder millions of people? Just look at what they did to the country the World Cup is being held in, I’m sure they can reference a few atrocities for you.

Posted by anarcurt | Report as abusive