Let me explain.
My background is British in a way that doesn’t apply to politicians like Jack McConnell who have been criticised for not supporting the English team. My late father was English but lived in Scotland for a long time. My mother is Scottish but now lives in England. One of my sisters was born in Scotland, the other in England. I lived in southwest Scotland until I was 6, then moved to Leeds for 3 years, and then back to Ayrshire until I was 18. Just after I left school the family moved to London where I lived and worked for many years. Now I am back in Scotland again. Because I was born here I support Scotland when they play against anyone, especially England, but support England when they play against other countries.
Most Scots don’t have that kind of mixed family background and I think that it’s entirely understandable that they aren’t supporting England in the World Cup. Hang on, say the English, why don’t the Scots support “their fellow British team”? Because, in footballing terms, it’s not a fellow team, but is perceived by Scots to be the number one rival. If Celtic are playing against Barcelona in a European match, do Rangers fans cheer on their “fellow” Glaswegians? Aye, right! Were Chelsea, Spurs and West Ham fans in tears over Arsenal’s recent defeat in the Champions’ League final? I don't think so.
But, say our English neighbours, we would always support a fellow British team. I heard that being argued on the radio in an Edinburgh café yesterday morning. And the previous week. And the week before. But Scotland aren’t (sadly) a threat to England. It’s no big deal for English folk to support Scotland in those circumstances. But let’s imagine a World Cup final between Germany and Brazil. Will the pubs of England be full of fans cheering on their fellow European team?
Just possibly not.