Don’t be fooled by the slogan “Two World Wars and a World Cup, doodah!”, and don’t be fooled by the British fans imitating the RAF bomber and extending their arms. The fact is that the unilateral football competition between England and Germany has lost its teeth.For most British fans, the latest issue, the second round on Tuesday Euro 2020 The game at Wembley should be a friendly game. This is mainly because the British now define themselves more as opposed to each other than Germans.
The competition began in the 1966 England-West Germany World Cup final and has experienced a 30-year heyday. Prior to this, the English football team has never become the core of national identity. The former British heroes were soldiers, royals, cricketers, or masochists, who caused themselves suffering for no reason: Captain Scott who died in Antarctica, Edmund Hillary who climbed Mount Everest, or ran Roger Bannister at the end of four minutes and a mile.
The 1966 final was the first major football match in an era when almost everyone had a TV. Its 32.2 million domestic viewers are still the largest viewers of all British TV shows. However, England’s victory did not cause much hysteria. England’s hapless reserve team Jimmy Greaves recalled: “Everyone cheered, thousands of people came out and said they did a good job, and within a week everyone disappeared.” People who have experienced one or two world wars understand, Football is just a game. In any case, the British in the 1960s still strode towards global dominance: their team never lost to the Germans at the time.
But then there was a trilogy of Britain’s loss to Germany: the 1970 and 1990 World Cups, and finally the 1996 European Cup. The result symbolizes an era—unfair to many British people—that Germany won peace. However, even in this period, British hostility has a pantomime component. “Two world wars and one World Cup, doodah” is a consciously ridiculous slogan, at least for most people who call it. Most importantly, it aims to add fun to the football game.
The English hostility reached its peak on July 4, 1990. In the World Cup semi-finals in Turin, West Germans lived up to the stereotype: uncharming, invincible, and proficient in penalty shootouts. The reunification plan for Germany will take place in three months. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher fears that this new country will become an aggressive superpower; West Germany coach Franz Beckenbauer boasted that this is unparalleled in football.
Neither situation has been achieved. The unification of Germany became a moderate force, it rejected the allies’ plea to build an army, and its football team became error-prone. Germany’s neighbors relaxed. The English hostility has diminished, just as the Dutch-German and French-German football matches have also lost their advantage.
British tabloids tried to keep the show going. Before the semi-finals of the 1996 European Championships at Wembley, the “Daily Mirror” published on the front page a photomontage of two English players wearing World War II military helmets with the headline “ACHTUNG! Surrender! To you” For Fritz, the 1996 European Cup is over.” But the mirror misjudged this sentiment. This headline caused such strong disgust that the newspaper abandoned its plan to drive a tank to the German embassy in London.
By 2010, when Germany defeated England again in the World Cup, the ceremonial defeat was hardly traumatized. In addition to the Ukip voting team (which may be too many among England fans), the British have learned to love the Germans.
This is especially true of liberal leftists in the UK, who admire Germany’s obscure professional leaders, its manufacturing exports, and its welcome to refugees in 2015. 58% of Britons have a positive view of Germany, and only 10% have a negative view, report to the pollster YouGov.
The enthusiasm has faded for a broader reason: after five years of television football broadcasts, international matches have become a repetition of each other. Tuesday’s England-Germany match will be a parody or mashup of the past England-German match. Fans will remember 1966, 1970, 1990 and 1996 in their minds. This means that the mood will not be as primitive as before-even if not to say that this is only the second round of the European Championship.
On the court, multi-millionaire British and German players, several of whom play for clubs in the opposing country, will have more in common with their opponents than with their fans.
For many British fans, the enemy is now inside. England’s biggest tit-for-tat in recent years was the Remaining Derby on June 23, 2016. In this game, the disadvantaged Departures led by a score of 52-48, prompting the pale-faced Remains owner David Card. Mellen resigned. The referendum started a cultural civil war that will continue at Wembley, where British nativists will boo, and British liberals will applaud the English players kneeling in support of the issue of black lives. The Germans have gone from villains to guests trapped in embarrassing domestic quarrels.