Stereotypes in sports coverage depict national teams as individual subjects with a firm ‘character,’ which remains constant over a long period of time. In so doing, it is assumed that the attributed national characters can be ‘recognised’ in every individual of a nation and, ultimately, all of their (not only footballing) actions. This article about the coverage of the football World Cups and European Championships since 2002 examines such attributions. At first, it is shown that such national stereotypes form a system that is based on distinct positions. On this basis, confusions of the system of national stereotypes relating to football, which, for example, arise out of the fact that a national team temporarily adopts another team’s playing style, are examined. However, such confusions are mostly revised during and at the end of international tournaments, with the result that the system of national stereotypes recently can rather be understood as a construction kit of elements which can be combined in various ways frequently without endangering the system.