David Davies, England's press officer, visited the English cemetery in LaBaule on Wednesday. He stopped to pay tribute to English soldiers killed in the German attack on the steamship Lancastria in 1940 and used the occasion to take a not-so-veiled jab at the hooligan fans giving England a bad name in France.

"Such a place humbles me," Davies said as he placed a wreath on a grave. "We owe the fact that we are participating in this world football tournament today to the courage of those who gave their lives to defend our freedom.

"Those who put our nation to shame could do well to think about that."

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