. . . 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
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
30,000 reasons why the rhetoric on immigrants claiming benefits can stop now
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