In the commentary before England’s match-up with Germany, much was made of the new post-historical dimension to the rivalry. The educational theorist and commentator Sam Freedman tweeted: “I would like to remind all newspapers that the second world war was 76 years ago and not relevant to a football game happening now.”

This is a naïve view.

In the main, our relationship with Germany is a tale of mutual elite fascination and self-loathing. In the early 20th century, the Edwardian German nobility fetishised English aristocratic culture, copying its blood sports, dress and manners; now, our opinion-makers write paeans to the German social market model, contrasting British mediocrity with Teutonic maturity and sophistication.