Match Preview: England v Germany, with a Look at the English Tabloids

Yes, I'm looking forward to the match itself, but when I learned that Germany would play England in the World Cup's round of the last sixteen (for which, incidentally, German has a proper word, Achtelfinale), I thought reading the English tabloids ahead of the match might be more fun than watching the actual football. Ever since I can think, these occasions have been greeted by the lowly portions of the English press with superjingoistic war rhetoric. (Their German counterparts, meanwhile, have nothing similar on offer. Which suggests that winning a war and then losing a few football matches leaves your ego more vulnerable and insecure than the opposite sequence of events. One should think it's the other way around. Also see below.)

Alas, if their tabloids are anything to go by, it seems the English are not in good shape ahead of tomorrow's clash. Yes, according to the Guardian, a publication called Daily Star, the existence of which I was not aware of, employed a team of world-class copywriters and poets to come up with this masterpiece: "ROON: I'LL BLITZ FRITZ". For those who don't get the context, the paper helpfully explains: "It's War!"

Yes, The Sun shouts "GERM WARFARE" - a term which, however, the paper seems to apply not exclusively to tomorrow's match, but to Germany's entire campaign, including the booking of a hotel that's nicer than the one England got - which naturally brought back towel-themed memories in the tabloid journalists.

But that's it. Even The Daily Mail has gone all schmoozy on Germany.

This whole war rhethoric is a bit bewildering from a German standpoint, because (a) by and large, we're a bit more cautious with respect to that kind of imagery here, for the obvious reasons, (b) many Germans are surprised to find that the English think there is a major footballing rivalry between the two countries. The reality is that, while England may have a rivalry with Germany, Germany has no rivalry with England. Nor was Mozart obsessed with Salieri.

Mozart, Salieri - I'm referring to the national sides' showings during the last few decades, of course. (Remember that Salieri was a pretty competent composer.) The current sides are about equally average, which suggests a close match. Perhaps it'll go to penalities?

While Germany in general have no footballing rivalry with England, the same is not true of me personally. I watched Germany's defeat to Croatia in the 1998 World Cup quarterfinals in a Cambridge pub (The Locomotive, if I remember correctly), and I've been bitter ever since. So let's hope it'll go to penalties.

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