First Published in The Independent, July 4th 2006

Tired of losing? Then support us

Hats off to Sven Goran Eriksson for successfully holding back England once again. In case he is one day in the future fed up with running football teams into the ground he could easily become the most popular after-dinner speaker in Scotland.

But that’s enough schadenfreude. I’m not going to verbally kick you in the groin any more. Otherwise you might show me the red card on my return. Instead, a big thank you to all England supporters for not smashing up Gelsenkirchen after the match. Not that it would make much of a difference in this former coal-mining town.

Unlike the team the England supporters deserve a lot of credit for their performances over the last few weeks. Here’s my suggestion: Hang around and let’s use the coming week as the start of a long-lasting Anglo-German friendship.
The BBC’s Kevin Day already promised me to support Germany for the rest of the World Cup and so you all should. Not least as this will give you the unique experience of backing the winning side.
The potential of this marvellous friendship was already on display last Friday outside Berlin’s Olympic Stadium before the Germany-Argentina match. Some English supporters spotted an Argentinian TV crew that was live on air and started shouting “Malvinas Inglaterra”, reminding the South Americans who owns the Falkland Islands.
It goes without saying that locals were all too happy to jump on the bandwagon. The well-gelled reporter and his crew left immediately.

I’m sure Germans and English could also unite in goading the French in the build-up to what is Sunday’s most likely final. But before we can beat France or Portugal we first need to overcome Italy today.

The Italians saved valuable energy in their easy match against those work-shy Ukrainian Communists but it won’t help them.

Posted by Henning Wehn on Tuesday, July 4th, 2006.
Filed Under: Writing


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