“Geography gives us our neighbours, but history gives us our enemies.“ This is a traditional Irish proverb that encapsulates the relationship between England and Ireland.
Despite the fact that England is Ireland’s nearest neighbour, neither side has ever attempted to understand the other.
Irish people may describe England, Scotland, and Wales differently. While the Scotsman and Welsh are considered members of the Celtic family, the English are the historical foe. Many Irish people are still unhappy about how the English treated them and about the current English attitudes toward their country.
This is seen best in the footballing culture that exists between the two of them. When it comes to skill, Ireland are not as strong as England. So instead of finding joy in beating them on the pitch, they find joy in watching England lose to others. They were exuberant when the Three Lions lost the 2020 Euros final, and now they have found yet another opportunity.
England lost the World Cup Quarter-Final game against France 2-1. They dominated the game and showed that they could have won the game, but a missed penalty and rued chances saw them being eliminated before they could even see the trophy.
As sad as this may have made the English fans, the Irish were bubbling. With every missed chance, every wrong pass, and every possession wasted – they were celebrating. When Harry Kane missed his second penalty, the country erupted together.
Schadenfreude, they call it.
The happiness, excitement, or self-satisfaction that arises from knowing about or watching someone else’s difficulties, failings, or humiliation. It is a sadist concept, and one not very often looked upon. But when it comes to historical context, it is easy to see why people feel it.
The Irish suffered heavily under the English, and now the English are suffering. Here is a Twitter summary of the innumerable fans feeling this ecstatic schadenfreude last night.
RyanAir, the Irish airline, chimed in with a joke of their own. The “nothing to declare” line hits hard.
The funniest thing was the collective forgiveness that the Irish fans were sending towards the French team for the Thierry Henry handball back in the 2010 World Cup.
Henry’s hand kept the ball from being sent away to a goal kick and provided an assist for France to score. This goal advanced France to the World Cup and eliminated Ireland from even entering the stage.
An unforgivable foul back then is now forgiven because of bigger enemies.
As England goes back home in disdain, the Irish who were praying on their downfall will have a night to remember. For the rest of the world, however, all eyes are on the 4 countries that remain in Qatar.