BERLIN, June 23 (Reuters) – Germany’s Bild newspaper promised on Thursday that Germans would not hog hotel sunloungers and would ditch their goalkeeper for the next penalty shootout, playing on friendly stereotypes in a last-ditch plea to Britons to stay in the European Union.
Britons will decide the future of their country and Europe on Thursday in a referendum on EU membership, with most opinion polls putting the “Leave” and “Remain” camps neck-and-neck.
“Dear Brits, if you remain in the EU … then we ourselves will recognise the Wembley goal,” Bild declared above a picture of Geoff Hurst’s controversial extra-time goal in the 1966 World Cup Final, when the English soccer team beat West Germany.
Touching on decades of rivalry on the soccer pitch, the paper said Germany would go without its goalkeeper in the next penalty shootout between England and Germany.
Germany is considered by English soccer fans to be their main sporting rival. Germany defeated England in a penalty shootout in the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup and the semi-finals of the 1996 Euros.
Leaning on decades of jokes between the countries, the mass-selling tabloid promised to put towels on sun loungers to reserve the best spots for Britons by the hotel pool, and to not use suntan lotion out of solidarity with sunburnt Brits.
If Britain were to stay in the EU, Bild also pledged to supply the baddie for every James Bond film, put its clocks back one hour so they were on the same time zone as Britain and introduce an EU guideline that bans froth on beer.
Earlier this month, Germany’s Der Spiegel published a bilingual edition of its weekly magazine in English and German containing a strong appeal for Britons to vote to remain.
(Writing by Caroline Copley)