Two World Wars and One World Cup: England Prepares to Invade Germany
To make sure England's long rivalry with Germany stays on the soccer pitch during this summer's World Cup, the British government is offering fans extra consular help and advice how not to offend their hosts.
All together now, but this time in German...
The official in charge of the campaign, Lord Triesman, presented the planned measures at London soccer club Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane on Wednesday. "While we all look forward to high drama on the pitch, it's vital that the Foreign Office does all it can to minimize drama off it," said Triesman according to the Guardian newspaper.
Besides setting up a special Web site and offering consular services such as issuing temporary passports at the venues where England's national team will play, the initiative gives English soccer fans advice on how to get along with Germans both in and away from the stadium. Along with translations of important phrases such as, "Can I have a beer, please?" a guide also encourages the English to sing popular football hymns in German.
The English are also dissuaded from making references to World War II, which might upset German sensibilities. Chants such as "two world wars and one World Cup" and a song titled " Ten German Bombers" -- celebrating the RAF's victory over the Third Reich's Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain -- remain extremely popular with England supporters when facing soccer rival Germany even 60 years after the war. But the "Avoiding Penalties" guide also lets English fans hoping to taunt "The Hun" know that the Nazi salute is illegal in Germany and using it could get them arrested.
Britain's brash tabloid media -- known for its fondness for using World War II to bait the Germans -- predictably was stunned by the advice. The Sun on Thursday called it "barmy" but provided its own questionable German translations. Perhaps it's unfair to expect foreign language skills from a notably Euroskeptic paper, but The Sun got the German translation for "God Save Our Gracious Queen" a bit wrong. Germans may be puzzled to hear England fans chanting "God store our gracious Queen".
Thousands of fans expected
Some 100,000 England fans are likely to head to the World Cup in Germany this summer. The team's opening match is on June 10 in Frankfurt against Paraguay, followed by an encounter with Trinidad and Tobago in Nuremberg. They then take on Sweden in Cologne.
British authorities said they plan to spend nearly £500,000 (723,000) to help fans with 20 consular officers to help with emergencies. They are also hoping to keep Britain's notorious football hooligans in check by negotiating special security arrangements with the Germans. Over 3,000 British citizens previously convicted of soccer-related offenses will be prohibited from traveling to Germany, Britain's Home Office said. Britain will also send 44 uniformed police officers to Germany.
"A typical fan is extremely patriotic and enjoys their football but there'll be a minority which we'll look out for," Bob Kenwrick, the transport police chief inspector leading the British detachment, told the Associated Press.
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