Sporting rivalries are natural, intense and understandable. But often, the rivalries matter more to fans, commentators and the Press than they do to the players involved. A few of these rivalries are rooted in long-standing grudges, some in sectarian or indeed political divisions, some in local competition, and a few, such as the Roses matches in cricket, may wither, surviving more in memory than reality. Which of these categories describes the football rivalry between England and Germany will get a new airing in the first knock-out round of the Euros on Tuesday.
Like it or not, sport is intertwined with politics. Sportsmen who reject the link are shirking the responsibility that accompanies their money and fame.