Here’s a question for you, especially if you are English; which country/nation/people do you most, well, dislike? Put it another way, which national team would you most enjoy seeing beaten by England in the World Cup final? I’m guessing that the vast majority of us will instinctively say Germany. Am I right?
Please don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to be jingoistic. If you asked the Dutch the same question they’d probably give the same answer. Mind you ask the Scots and they’d probably say England. Ditto the Welsh and the Irish, the French and Australians and many more no doubt. Everybody has a bogey nation – it’s a consequence of history. Ours just happens to be Germany because they always beat us at penalties, they cannot admit when a ball crosses the line, they are a nightmare on the beaches, oh and a small matter of two World Wars.
But before everybody accuses me of hateful nationalism, here’s the thing. Tucked away in the depths of my newspaper earlier this week was an item confirming that Germany had made their final payment of reparations laid down under the Treaty of Versailles to the victorious nations following WW1. Almost 100 years following the War to end all Wars, for which Germany was found to be solely to blame under an overly-punitive Treaty which laid the seeds for the discontent which led directly to WW2, they’ve continued to make reparations and now the slate is clean. Isn’t that a reason to be positive and to offer respect to the German nation? Well I think it is. It doesn’t mean that I’ll ever forgive Ozil for choosing Real over Man U but I admire people who pay their debts. Germany; du bist OK.