. . . But on the pitch, it's back to 1966 and all that
Monday 24 June 1996
A 20th-minute penalty by Jurgen Klinsmann and a 58th-minute strike by sweeper Mathhias Sammer yesterday gave Germany victory over Croatia.
The clash on Wednesday night at Wembley is likely to be billed as a compressed and bloodless Battle of Alamein. If the 4-2 World Cup scoreline marked an emotional peak in the national psyche, then the agony of defeat on penalties in Italia 90 in Turin heralded an all-time collective low.
On Saturday, 17.9 million people watched the match against Spain on BBC1, city centres were deserted and power firms reported a 1,100 megawatt surge after the victory. Newspapers speculated on a boom in babies next spring after reporting that testosterone pumps around in large doses after euphoria, increasing virility and sperm count.
So if the nation held its breath on Saturday, the Wednesday clash could cause respiratory problems.
And there was a surprise result yesterday when, the Czech Republic beat Portugal 1-0.
In the meantime, expect more jingoism in the tabloids. They encouraged England to "give the Spanish el" and the Dutch "edam good thrashing". Given two world wars and a battle over beef, coverage has thus far probably been tame.
After yesterday's quarter final, William Hill made Germany 7:4 favourites to win the tournament. England at 2:1 are second favourites.
Police will be hoping nationalist fervour does not spark violence between rival fans. In 1994, a proposed friendly was postponed because it coincided with Hitler's birthday.
24-page sports section today
- 1 Sainsbury's '50p challenge' poster telling staff to encourage customers to spend more placed in shop window instead of staff room
- 2 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 3 HeForShe campaign: Iceland to follow up Emma Watson speech with UN women's rights conference – for men only
- 4 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 5 Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
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