Alex Massie

Bring Me the Head of...Michael Ballack

Bring Me the Head of...Michael Ballack
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Even I, a fan of robust tabloid journalism, have to wonder if this might be going just a little bit far...

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The Guardian reports:

Poland's national football coach apologised yesterday after a tabloid newspaper ran a gruesome depiction of him holding the severed heads of Germany's national trainer and team captain and demanded he slaughter them at the forthcoming Euro 2008 championships.

The photomontage in Super Express of Poland's Dutch coach, Leo Beenhakker, clutching the bloodied heads of Michael Ballack and Joachim Löw provoked outrage in Germany and threatened to overshadow the match between the two group B teams on Sunday.

The picture ran alongside the caption: "Leo, Give us their heads," arguing that Poland, which has never beaten Germany, had waited too long for a victory over its neighbour. The image followed another tabloid's take on the rivalry, which showed Ballack wearing a Prussian helmet and recalled a 15th-century battle in which Teutonic knights were defeated by the Poles.

Great stuff, obviously.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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