Is all fair dinkum in love, war and football?

Serious sport, George Orwell famously wrote in 1945, has nothing to do with fair play. “It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting” where “the most savage combative instincts are aroused”.

The Polish tabloid Super Express has once again proved Orwell prophetic, ushering in Euro 2008 with a photo montage of their national team’s coach holding aloft the severed heads of Michael Ballack, the German team captain, and Germany coach Joachim Löw.

“Bring us their heads,” the paper demands, stirring a hornet’s nest.

Photograph: courtesy Der Spiegel

Read the full story: Poland’s yellow press turns blood red

Read Orwell’s landmark essay: The sporting spirit

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