While I’m not much of a soccer enthusiast, I’m a loyal fan of the sport of trash-talking. Worthy matches are hard to find, but an email exchange between the British Embassy in Washington and the U.S. Embassy in London about the upcoming America/England World Cup match reveal that the foreign service chaps are world class gasconaders :

From: Philip Breeden, US Embassy London
To: Martin Longden, British Embassy Washington DC
Subject: World Cup Bet

Mr. Longden,

It has not escaped our attention that a certain sporting event is fast approaching, and that our respective nations will soon be meeting on the fields of South Africa. My Ambassador has asked me to see if your Ambassador might be interested in a small wager? We will understand if you decline, given the outcome of the last such encounter.

Sincerely, Philip Breeden, U.S. Embassy, London
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From: Martin Longden, British Embassy Washington DC
To: Philip Breeden, US Embassy London
Subject: Re: World Cup Bet

Mr. Breeden,

Even for such an exceptionally optimistic nation as the United States, I am struck by the confidence with which your Ambassador proposes this wager. It is testament, I assume, to the generosity of your great nation - since the British Ambassador does not anticipate paying out.

Your email does not specify the exact terms of the wager. May I suggest that, in the event of an England victory, the US Ambassador agrees to entertain the British Ambassador at a steak-house of his choosing in downtown DC? And in the event that the United States is able to engineer a fortuitous win over England, then my man will entertain yours at a London pub of his choosing. Loser pays.

Your reference to a previous sporting encounter between our two countries puzzles me. Since the history of English football is long and extensive, in contradistinction to US soccer, I regret that I cannot immediately recall the encounter to which you refer. No doubt it is remembered fondly on these shores; we have quite forgotten it, however.

Are you sure you want to do this?

Yours sincerely,

Martin Longden

British Embassy Washington DC
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From: Philip Breeden, US Embassy London
To: Martin Longden, British Embassy Washington DC
Subject: Re: World Cup Bet

Mr. Longden ,

It is with great pleasure, and no small measure of anticipation, that the U.S. Ambassador accepts the terms of the wager. I am surprised, given the well known love of the British for history, that you have forgotten what happened the last time the “special relationship” was tested on the pitch. Of course, given the result, you are to be forgiven for having misplaced that particular episode in your memory banks. I refer of course to the victory of the U.S. over England in the 1950 World Cup.

It is true that our soccer (a fine English word we have kindly preserved for you) history is not as long and illustrious as yours. However, as your generals noted during WWII, we have a unique capability for quickly identifying and advancing talent.

Game on!

Sincerely, Philip Breeden
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From: Martin Longden, British Embassy Washington DC
To: Philip Breeden, US Embassy London
Subject: Re: World Cup Bet

Mr. Breeden,

Very well; it’s a bet!

Incidentally, you should know that the Ambassador takes his steak like American soccer victories - somewhat rare.

Sincerely,

Martin Longden


(Via: League of Ordinary Gentlemen )

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