On Sunday afternoon, England will face Germany for a place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. A great match in prospect between arguably one the greatest rivalries in world football.
Unfortunately, whenever these teams are paired up, the banter is routinely reduced to bigoted chanting. In England, the match is constantly used as an excuse to re-run World War II.
Tabloid newspapers repeatedly use offensive terms like Hun and Kraut, with references to Adolf Hitler. The national team is also often the target of unfunny jokes. Anti-German sentiment continues to be rife, despite the fact that the war ended over sixty years ago.
I bet any German who has the misfortune of living in Britain is constantly reminded of the rubbish that’s written in the papers and broadcast on our TV screens…which can turn into a great motivation for their team to beat England where it currently matters… on the pitch.
In football at least, there is more that unites the both sets of supporters than divides us. Can we just do the honourable thing and back our teams during the game, and then remain friendly, whatever the result?