Who to win the World Cup now then? I'm going for France - after all they beat Brazil and they seem to be an interesting team to watch. They have a high proportion of bald headed men in there too. Now my football logic disappears. We can't support Portugal after the way they wound Wayne Rooney up - that wasn't fair. It has to be France. There is a specific date - 1871 I think, during the Franco-Prussian war that the English love affair with Germany ended - and that is the time that France replaced Germany in this nation's affections and this unleashed a torrent of cross-channel fraternization as wealthy Englishmen saw Paris as a playground and queued up to enjoy the pleasures forbidden in Victorian England. Waterloo had seen the end of a century of Anglo-French rivalry for a maritime empire. The French had died bravely alongside our own in the Crimea. The Prince of Wales embodied this new love of France, and sowed the seeds of the entente cordiale. This entente was of course to cost the English dearly as they lined up with France in 1914, but what alternative to this action did we, a supposed liberty-loving democracy have? We may have thought that France was decadent and corrupt but we couldn't deny we'd enjoyed its decadence and we saw Germany's unsophisticated militarism as an anachronism, a shadow of our former selves in an earlier century as we bullied our way into acquiring an Empire.
That's not to deny there's a good deal of anti-French sentiment in English working-class culture - partially a gut reaction against the middle-classes' so readily embracing any French thing they can get their pudgy hands on, and partially a resentment of the blood that has been shed in their defence in the last century, but these are also the same people who when they are over in France on a weekend break enjoy themselves with abandon. I am also sure working-class French people hate the English middle-class as much as we do and wish they'd holiday somewhere else but what can you do?
You know you love the French really. You eat garlic bread without giving it a second thought. Your ancestors died in their hundreds of thousands defending their right to print dirty postcards and have a useless army. We should want them to win the world cup.