As a commentator on international politics, it is naturally tempting to draw some trite geopolitical lesson from the World Cup. There are those who believe that the unexpected early elimination of France and Italy at this year’s tournament is a parable of the decline of Europe. A commentator in El País, a Spanish paper, claims that England’s loss to Germany over the weekend reflects Thatcherism’s demoralising effects on the English proletariat. (And there was I thinking that it had something to do with lumbering centre-backs and a disallowed goal.)
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