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Football is coming home. The chorus of the song ‘Three Lions’ is currently England’s national anthem, it’s being played and chanted from trains, buses, cars and buildings across the land (and the GulfWeekly editor’s office in Manama).
Memes are bombarding the internet, even being dubbed over Friends clips to scenes from The Matrix, even Alexa knows what it is.
Football fever even made it as far as Windsor Castle, with the changing of the guard performing to the tune.
In my recent column, I was exceptionally cynical of England getting anywhere in this year’s FIFA World Cup, forever being the perennial underachievers, I stated many things I would rather do then watch another England game.
My experiences of watching England over the years, have been mainly of disappointment so I was reluctant to put myself through further anguish by watching them this time round.
They didn’t bring football home from the World Cup in Argentina 1978, Spain 1982. Mexico 1986, in France ’98, Euro 2000 or the World Cup in Japan/Korea 2002 and again in 2004, Germany in 2006, South Africa in 2010, the Euros in 2012 and Brazil in 2014.
More youthful supporters haven’t shared these experiences and haven’t my scepticism, most of the English players weren’t even born when England last reached a World Cup semi-final at Italia 90, 28 years ago.
It has been a staggering 52 years since England won the World Cup.
But I crept out from under the sofa, decided to be patriotic once more, mainly for the sake of my two sons, and watch England play.
It took England a painfully long tome to win against Tunisia, they did get six past Panama, but they have a population half the size of London. But they did it. Then, unbelievably Southgate’s side triumphantly won against Sweden in the quarter-final, playing football that was entertaining to watch.
At the final whistle of the Sweden game, an ecstatic coach pumped the air to ‘All you need is Love’ and there is so much to love about this new England team, with superb team spirit and enormous character, it is amazing how far that can take you.
It may well end in tears and disappointment but whilst we can, enjoy the ride, let’s hope and cheer, because just maybe football is coming home after all.