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Why we’ll mostly be supporting Germany on Sunday

11 July 2014

12:56 PM

11 July 2014

12:56 PM

If you’re walking through any built-up area in England between 8 and 10pm this Sunday and you hear a cheer you can be pretty sure it means one thing – Germany have scored yet again.

One of the great myths we were fed as children in the 1980s and ‘90s was that the English don’t like the Germans, and in particular the living representatives of all things Teutonic on earth, the German national football team. We love ‘em, and I imagine most English people will be supporting Germany on Sunday.

I remember being stuck in the countryside in 2006 and watching the Argentina-Germany quarter-final in a pub; the place went wild when Germany equalised and then won. I know they were playing Argentina, who because of Diego Maradona are England’s most hated team (my theory is that the neurotic Italians also fit the bill because they are both sufficiently alien to be dislikeable but also European enough to be proper rivals).

But I reckon many English people probably support Germany against most other major teams, and that reflects a fondness for the country and its football; the post-war period, with its lingering memory of conflict and England’s economic jealousy (epitomised I supposed by those Stan Boardman jokes about Jaaairmans stealing sun beds) was a historical anomaly that is now over.

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From the 18th century to the First World War, English society was very Teutonophile, and rightfully so, considering what that country produced in the way of science and culture. According to Sleepwalkers, Christopher Clark’s (admittedly quite pro-German) book about events a century ago, British public opinion was quite well disposed to them even in 1914, and getting more so. Even after the war itself many British soldiers expressed admiration for their former enemies, far more than towards their allies the French. While some of the Second World War generation nursed their hatred, in my experience not many, and for obvious reasons nothing like as many continentals.

I think a big turning point was 1996 when the tabloids tried to revive war stereotypes and completely misjudged the public mood; the Mirror headline Achtung Fritz! received an enormous number of complaints from readers. Mancuncians had nothing but nice things to say about their German visitors and after the tournament the national side took out newspaper advertising to thank the English.

As for German football itself, it’s far more accessible to ordinary fans than ours, they still have terraces, and the game is not monopolised by a tiny few; their players seem considerably less awful human beings than ours; as with their economic model based on manufacturing and affordable housing, it’s hard to argue that they’ve got it wrong and we’ve got it right.

And in my experience watching the national sides in the two countries provides a great contrast; I watched Germany win a semi-final in the 2008 euros while in Stuttgart and afterwards the spirit in the town square was one of sheer joy and patriotism, without any feelings of intimidation or nastiness. The last time I went to Trafalgar Square after an England win there were three thousand topless men wearing Burberry caps shouting racist abuse at random strangers. I left before they started fighting each other. My feelings during moments like this are always the same: why can’t we be more like the Germans?

Also, even in a crowded pub during a busy match, I noted that all German men wash their hands after going to the loo; I hate to break it to the ladies of England, but that’s not the case here.

But anyway, it’s just a football game, and may the most exciting and enjoyable team win – that is, Germany.

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Show comments
  • Roy

    The English are mad harry’s and over the last few generations have lost what gentlemanly behaviour they had. Now, like the politicians have gross behavior faults and starved of common sense are destroying the great country they inherited.

  • greggf

    Argentina should win because Brasil will prefer that Germany win.
    In South America the politic is the two giants hate each other.

  • johnw100

    Having spent a few holidays travelling in both Germany and Argentina , i`m going with Argentina. The people there were very warm and friendly (although Germans were good too), but I just had more fun with Argentinians. They as a nation may give a political view of dislike towards the British but the people i met have huge respect for us and what we have given to the world, the sport, music, industry,etc. Quite a few told me that they wish it was the British that built the country ,not the Spanish and Italians who were lazy and corrupt. And if the war came up in conversation it was unanimous that it was stupid waste of lives . Although the majority still believe they belong to them,theyre not worth fighting over.
    So that in mind, and my two grandfathers who fought and injured against the Germans, i`m going with Argentina.

  • grumpy_old_ben

    ….because their education system doesn’t produce the likes of David Cameron, I suppose.

  • Gwangi

    Well, I was hoping for a Germany versus Greece final. That would’ve made Hamas versus Israel look like a rehearsal…

  • Gwangi

    What always makes me laugh is the way we are constantly lectured about how we have such a wonderfully (racially) diverse football league and national team and WE MUST CELEBRATE THAT – or else. (Maybe now people can realise that ‘diverse’ does NOT automatically equal ‘good’, ‘high quality’ or ‘effective’).

    Meanwhile, as England struggle to reach the giddy heights of Sunday league schoolboy football (it’s actually surprising they haven’t replaced the goalposts with jumpers for England’s games), the stubbornly Teutonically Nordic blood and soil almost-entirely white German team thrashes England and most other teams too.
    Shame really – I wanted the Dutch to win (as they should have done in 74).

    Boring if either Germany or the Argies win. I suppose Argentina with Messi deserve it but they scraped through on penalties (though didn’t Germany also win some games on penalties?) However, the Germany did beat France, which is always a plus.

  • tjamesjones

    “As for German football itself, it’s far more accessible to ordinary fans than ours, they still have terraces, and the game is not monopolised by a tiny few”

    What does this mean? I’m supporting Germany tonight, but it doesn’t mean I respect their Bayern dominated league.

  • StephanieJCW

    I must then be in a minority! I feel nothing for either team and it’s the first world cup for a long while where I don’t much care who wins.

  • Nick

    As somebody very sweetly pointed out – look at the German team – not a tattoo to be seen. How refreshing.

  • City Blue

    Demichelis, Zabaleta, Aguero…..Obviously supporting the Argies from blue half of Manchester. Viva Argentina!

  • zoid

    remember 1982…..that should give an idea as to which side i’ll be cheering on.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “Why we’ll mostly be supporting Germany on Sunday”I just haven`t got the heart to gloat. I take it you can`t watch a football match without supporting one side or another.

  • proculharem

    Two unattractive countries. I suppose there are many more.

  • Winston Burchill

    Well we ARE ruled by Germany so perhaps ve must support them!

  • swatnan

    I’m supporting Argentina; let the S Americans have their day in 2014, otherwise they’ll be grumpy for the next 4 years. Give them something to cheer about after Brazils absolutely disastrous and girly performance.

  • George

    I will be supporting Argentina 100%.
    I was in Germany over the last month and you can not imagine how arrogant they are.
    It is like in the EU they want to impose their will to all others

    • Fergus Pickering

      Nonsense. Germans are charming. Perhaps you are not.

      • Kitty MLB

        Indeed yes they are Fergus.

    • girondas2

      I have been to Germany many times and haven’t come across any arrogance. Mind you, I go to France as well and i am usually treated well.
      Maybe I’m just a likeable guy.

      • Kitty MLB

        I have also found the Germans, French, and English
        very polite despite my Latin temperament and
        English aloofness…and being more of a bookish
        unsociable soul and bad with words.

        Try telling the French that Italian food, wine and
        culture are superior…they’re not so friendly then.

        Yes, you are a likeable guy, and one its always a pleasure to speak with, whether it be a serious
        political discussion or a lighthearted tearing of
        pheasants with, within the Speccie corridors .

        • girondas2

          “Try telling the French that Italian food, wine and
          culture are superior…they’re not so friendly then.”

          Kitty, how tactfully do you tell them?

          • Kitty MLB

            Oh very tactfully, speaking without words. I’d randomly chose
            some women, children, 2 goats and some men ( if I must, they’re.. Oh you know ! )
            We’d drive across the Swiss alps reaching the Dolomites ( release the goats)
            Then continue driving, eating and drinking local foods wine and
            fruit juice, passing olive trees and lemon groves. Arriving at Verona during twilight. Then Florence for the men to see the
            fountain of Neptune ( all men would love to look like him)
            We’d stop off at Naples for the children.
            And then at Taurianova we would part.. they’d need to find their own way back whilst I have time alone on beautiful
            Sicilia. I should imagine they wouldn’t have approved.

  • disqus_JXTaH3N9kU

    Maradona was a genius and the fact that so many English can’t get over his cheating from 28 years in pathetic. I’m English, by the way and enjoyed his second goal aginst us that day immensely. I like both teams in fact and couldn’t have conceived of a worthier final.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Maradona was a football player. He was also a cheat. Genius is a funny word to use.

      • disqus_JXTaH3N9kU

        Is “genius” not appropriate to use for sportsmen (or women) ? I don’t see why not. If tens of millions men and boys play football around the world and one man is better than every single one of the millions of others I think “genius” is indeed apt. Yes, he cheated. I can see how that diminishes him as an individual but it has no bearing on his skill.

        • zoid

          that’s right….a genius who resorted to cheating with his first against england and who relied on colombia’s top export for performance enhancement throughout his career…

          • disqus_JXTaH3N9kU

            Actually, Colombia’s top export helped destroy his career, not enhance it. And I still fail to see what cheating (in one game, and boy, the English just can’t forget it, can they?) has to do with his skill.

      • disqus_JXTaH3N9kU

        Is “genius” not appropriate to use for sportsmen (or women) ? I don’t see why not. If tens of millions men and boys play football around the world and one man is better than every single one of the millions of others I think “genius” is indeed apt. Yes, he cheated. I can see how that diminishes him as an individual but it has no bearing on his skill.

    • Richard

      An off-pitch ref should have the power to overturn a flagrantly wrong decision.

  • sfin

    I remember a story involving the German Ambassador who wanted to change his countries image in Britain – so he thought it would be a good idea to arrange an interview with Britain’s favourite red top newspaper.

    The interview went well, with the German ambassador explaining carefully that we were now partners in Europe and that it was past time to put all of that stereotypical World War II nonsense behind us etc. The newspaper agreed and reporters promised a favourable write up in the next day’s edition.

    The German ambassador eagerly awaited delivery of the next morning’s newspapers and went straight for the tabloids. Only to read the headline:

    “THE HUN TALKS TO THE SUN!”

    I don’t know if it’s true – but it deserves to be!

  • Jacques Strap

    Three words why: HAND OF GOD

  • Fergus Pickering

    I think the Germans are very nice. I spent four days in Koln with my wife and they were all… very nice. The Argies are the enemy. So here;s to the Germans winning 8-0.

    • Adam Carter

      Yes. I only went to Germany for the first time when I was 49. I was told it was a great place, with great people and that I would love it.
      Absolutely correct in every respect.
      And everybody I know who has actually been there, whether for work or play, has really enjoyed it.
      An 8-0 win for Germany would be welcome, a 9-0 win even better.

      • Makroon

        I will support Germany tomorrow, for footballing reasons.
        The Germans are mostly polite and well-behaved hosts, but their newspapers and politicians are overwhelmingly anti-British.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Everyone was Britain`s enemy if you go back far enough.

      • Fergus Pickering

        But I am not going back at all. Argentina is our enemy NOW. They say so all the time.

  • @PhilKean1

    .
    Because more British lives have lost at the hands of Germans than they have at the hands of Argentinians?

    Heck, I want them playing a full 90 minutes of all-out football, with cramps, exhaustion, red cards and injuries – only to end in a nil-nil draw.
    Then I want another 30 minutes of extra time, and STILL no goals scored.

    I then want the Argies to win 31 – 30 on penalties. I know they cheated us in a previous semi-final, but the Germans are complicit in subjecting the British people to living under EU dictatorship.
    .

    • Kitty MLB

      Phil, you must watch it regardless of the wretched EU. I am sure you a few things from Germany such as cold meats and dessert.. unless you’re still
      not eating any food from Europe. The Argentinians cheat and they are never in
      the spirit of the game.

      • @PhilKean1

        .
        No, I try not to enrich the British peoples’ EU enemies by buying their goods and services.

        I had a dream last night that made me really happy, until I woke up. It was that an earthquake caved in the Channel Tunnel.
        .

        • oldoddjobs

          Those dastardly E.U countries are really feeling the pinch since you started your boycott. Go on, have some pâté.

    • Roger Hudson

      I think the Germans only invaded the British Channel Islands after Britain declared war on Germany in a fit of hubris whereas Argentina invaded the Falklands in its own fit of hubris, that makes Argentina the worse of the two.

      • @PhilKean1

        .
        Germany 400,000 – Argentina 260

        Must give it to the Argies.
        .

      • Barry Scarfe

        Spot-on. We could have done a deal with Germany if the half-American moron (with sympathies towards that supposed ‘friend’) Winston Churchill had not been our PM in the crucial year of 1940 and had who we should have had instead ie Lord Halifax. Thanks mainly to Churchill and his arrogance and hubris, we no longer have an Empire and are a totally broken ‘country’ today which never truely recovered from the war unlike Germany.

        • balance_and_reason

          fool

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      These feelings of paranoia and mindless aggression you are experiencing, tell me about them. When did they begin?

      • George Smiley

        And aren’t you a Japanese?

      • @PhilKean1

        .
        When I realised the British people were under a sustained attack from their enemies in the EU and their proxies here in the UK.
        .

        • oldoddjobs

          It’s not the EU you need to worry about. Britain has been shafted by its own.

  • startledcod

    You ask ‘why can’t we be more like the Germans?’, I rephrase that to ask why can’t our footballers be more like German ones?

    • Makroon

      You do know that Ed West is Irish ?
      Why can’t we be more like the Oirish, says I.

      • oldoddjobs

        To be sure.

  • you_kid

    Who cares what German managers can do for German, US American and African teams. They are just not good enough for the FA, it’s obvious.

  • Wessex Man

    I won’t be supporting either just hoping for an entertaining game. There’s no need to support someone just because our boys have let us down again.

  • UniteAgainstSocialism

    i’ll be supporting the Germans because i hate the Argies more than i hate football

    • Andy

      Pity they both can’t lose.

  • Smithersjones2013

    it just proves Depeche Mode were right and God does have a sick (sadistic even) sense of humour. What could be worse than Germany vs Argentina for an Englishman?

    What mind expanding substances is West on to think we all favour all things Germanic whether it be the Boring Man’s Wagon or the bland sausages? Clearly West knows as much about football as he does politics. Sweet FA then. He is a complete idiot.

    PS How did the Libdems get on in Haringey or whatever god forsaken ghetto West lives in? Huh Ed?

  • telemachus

    I know they were playing Argentina, who because of Diego Maradona are England’s most hated team
    *
    And there was me thinking it is because the offshore islands are still called Islas Malvinas on Argentine maps

    • Adam Carter

      Then you should be pleased that, after reading this article, you now know better.
      Maradona was an outrageous cheat.

      • telemachus

        A sacred act I heard

        • Adam Carter

          And to anyone religious, Maradona blasphemed about his disgusting cheating.

          • telemachus

            “There is no gainsaying the fact that watching Maradona handle a ball was like watching a ballerina or a world class gymnast. What Maradona did with the ball can only be compared to great poetry from the classic masters. But he, like other great players of our time (Zico, Ronaldo, Jay-Jay Okocha and many others) are just mere mortals. Pele is a “god”. I shall not blaspheme against the heavens by trying to descibe the “god-ness” of Pele and the game of soccer.”

          • Kitty MLB

            Indeed Adam. Telemachus is just buzzing around as he usually does…best to keep
            the windows closed.

            • telemachus

              Swifts and Swallows

          • Wessex Man

            Why do you all bothere feeding this bloke ego by answering him?

      • John Lea

        Come on, Adam, that second goal was a thing of beauty. Admit it.

        • Adam Carter

          Agreed. Maradona was a fabulous footballer when he played within the rules.
          He was also a disgusting cheat.
          Would you have a pint with him? I wouldn’t.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Nor would I. But then I don`t drink beer.

            • George Smiley

              So? Who cares?! You are a Japanese anyway, not British, so you never count!

              • Jackthesmilingblack

                “so you never count”
                Watch the grammar, China boy.

                • George Smiley

                  Mad Japanese paranoia!

    • Rhoda Klapp8

      It goes back at least to ’66, when Alf Ramsey called their team ‘animals’. On the other hand, I seem to recall Maradona’s other goal in the hand of god match was voted goal of the century by a UK audience. Not without cause, it was genius.

      • telemachus

        And Messi has similar genius

        • Makroon

          Messi and Maradona are not even the greatest Argie players – that would be that force of nature Di Stefano, and he had the good taste never to play for Argentina.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Naw. It was football.

  • Kitty MLB

    ” Englishmen don’t wash their hands” That was really too much
    information and my husband always washes his.
    I think maybe the Charming Rod’s thread is better–he has
    omph!
    You may find some around here also supported Italy and Holland
    for various reasons..
    But yes Germany is beautiful…especially Baveria…and nice
    desserts..I am very much a desert person.

    • telemachus

      Baveria?
      Freudian slip for
      Laurent Beria

    • telemachus

      Freudian slip
      You were thinking about Laurent Beria

      • Andy

        You’re thinking of Lavrentiy Beria.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Englishmen make jokes about lack of personal hygiene. Now that really is a turn-off at this end of the ranch.
      Jack, Japan Alps

      • George Smiley

        But aren’t you a Japanese with buck teeth?!

  • global city

    This is the stupidest and most pseudo blog Ed West has ever written. Written by an ingerlushman, but a dumb one who wants to parade something, but what exactly he is not so sure.

    The Maradonna thing was the stupidest bit of the whole piece.

  • HookesLaw
    • Wessex Man

      well I kind of thought that you wouldn’t be interested, why bother to post such a negative comment?

    • Kitty MLB

      Hooky, you are a Cricket man, are you not. You come across
      as one.

      • Fergus Pickering

        No he is not. I am sure he is not.

        • Kitty MLB

          No Fergus, don’t worry I’m probably incorrect.
          Just imagine Hooky in the world of Cricket,
          it ‘s just utterly wrong on every level.

  • allymax bruce

    On Sunday, I’ll mostly be wearing wellies.

    • Kitty MLB

      Intruguing dear Ally, what will you be getting upto
      on Suhday? or is it another one of those situations full
      of mystery and danger.But obviously not in you kilt.
      The kilt and wellies look will never catch on in Edinburgh.

      • Andy

        You should not be asking such personal questions. Just because he does it in wellies is not really our concern.

        • Fergus Pickering

          I thought the wellies were for the sheep’s back legs.

          • Andy

            Mercifully your perverted private life is your own concern !

          • allymax bruce

            Ahhh; here come the Scotch stereotyping myths; well, I hope so!

      • allymax bruce

        Dear Kitty, Mr A.
        Kilt in wellies; I think I’ve seen it before up here, (really!); I’m not fashion conscious, rather, more practicable. If I thought it a practicable need to wear wellies with a kilt, then I would. I’m not ashamed, nor proud, of anything. God is my Guide. x

        • Kitty MLB

          Dear Ally, never change. x

    • Kitty MLB

      Apologies for the typos.

    • Maidmarrion

      T in the Park?
      Weather according to my Norwegian forecasters s supposed to be dingin’ doon!
      You’ll need the wellies but the music will still be great!

      • Kitty MLB

        Ally will like that. He has music and poetry within his
        soul..and decent wellies upon his feet..
        And Norwegian forecast….are you anywhere near
        the outstandingly beautiful Shetland.

      • allymax bruce

        Hi Maidmarrion, no, sorry, not T. But the best guess yet!
        Quite an interesting little ditty though; I’ve had a rock concert, perverted beastiality, and a fashion conscious reminder; I luv this forum!

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