When the two football teams meet on Tuesday, there will be 55 years of hurt on one side – and heartbreak on the other
On that fabled day in 1966, when England played West Germany at Wembley stadium, there was at least one German who desperately wanted his team to lose. Grim-faced, the Federal Republic’s ambassador to London gathered his staff and told them: “If we win, all our work here will have been in vain.”
He feared that for England to lose a World Cup final at home to the old enemy would reopen a wound that the diplomats had spent 20 years trying to heal. So when the BBC’s Kenneth Wolstenholme uttered the immortal words, “They think it’s all over. It is now!”, the entire embassy went to the nearest pub and “drank itself senseless out of sheer relief”.