Euro euphoria

1 min

The BBC World Service presenter opened the 9 o'clock evening news by apologising to non-English viewers if they saw him smiling more than usual and explained: "Today, after 55 years, England have beaten Germany". It was a very professional joy, because it conveyed the importance of the news: two generations of English people had just seen disproved for the first time in their lives that football is a sport where eleven against eleven play and in the end Germany wins. Football, they say, is the king of banal nationalism, with its open bar of painted faces, royal families losing in the boxes their usual boring behaviour and anthems sung at the top of their lungs before matches start. However, as is evident, there is nothing banal about this nationalism any more. Proof of this is that, after all this festival, those who have a national team warn you very seriously that you can't mix politics and sport.

Antoni Bassas is a journalist