Football’s finally come home. Not only did England’s Lionesses roar to victory in a nail-biting finale to the Women’s Euro 2022, they did it against arch-rivals Germany. 

While hardcore football fans and casual viewers alike will be celebrating up and down the country – to the annoyance of our Scottish neighbours – German newspaper Bild has launched a tirade against the supposedly cheating English. 

“In the 2-1 defeat after extra time we were cheated again almost exactly 56 years after the Wembley goal scandal,” the newspaper read this morning, referring to an apparently “crystal clear handball,” which, of course, was checked using VAR. 

But how did we get to such a bitter rivalry?  

Much of the Anglo-German rivalry harks back to the first and the second world wars. Football chants like “Two World Wars and One World Cup” and “Ten German Bombers” are often seen as inflammatory, when sung to German football fans. German supporters too, have previously taken to responding with the Nazi song “Bomben auf Engelland” (Bombs to England). 

“Less than a lifetime ago the Germans inflicted untold misery on the world,” journalist Tony Parsons wrote in the Daily Mirror in 2005. “If English football fans choose to deal with that a mere 60 years later by holding their arms out and pretending to be Lancaster bombers, I would suggest that the Germans are getting off quite lightly.”

In 1996, the Daily Mirror also ran a front-page depicting England players Paul Gascoigne and Stuart Pearce wearing First World War helmets, with the headline “Achtung! Surrender.” 

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The 1966 World Cup final between England and West Germany saw a controversial third goal give England the lead in extra time, and has remained hotly disputed ever since. According to modern film analysis, the whole ball never actually crossed the line – only 97 per cent of it did. 

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In the 2010 World Cup, the opposite happened. A shot from Frank Lampard crossed the line by a considerable margin, before being scrambled out by the German goalkeeper. The goal, however, was not given, and England crashed out of the last-16. 

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The fiery competition in Sunday’s match demonstrates that England’s footballing rivalry with Germany is alive and kicking – and not just part of the men’s game. As to what England midfielder, Jill Scott, screamed at a German player after being brought down yesterday, The Hound will leave that up to you to decide. 

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