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07th Jul 2018

World Cup Comments: Whatever comes next, England fans finally have a justifiable reason to get carried away

Simon Lloyd


Why then, are you here reading this? Haven’t you a fountain to dance in? A beer garden to repeatedly yell “It’s Coming Home” in until your lungs implode? A tattoo artist willing to ink Harry Maguire’s face on your arm or chest or arse cheek?

You should. You deserve this. We all deserve this.

England – England – are a single game away from a World Cup final. This simply isn’t what’s supposed to happen. And for exactly this reason, each and every one of us has the right to go absolutely, ridiculously over the top over the days to come.

Far, far too many times in the past, we’ve made the mistake of expecting success at World Cups or European Championships. Not this time though. None of us, not a single soul, realistically expected Gareth Southgate’s side to reach the last four in Russia this summer. It’s one big, lovely surprise.

Yes, some might point out the draw may have been kind so far, but that’s really not the point. History has shown us that draws being ‘kind’ isn’t enough for England not to fuck things up. Not only have they not fucked things up (yet), they’ve even managed to change that same old, tiresome narrative a little bit.

It doesn’t matter what the opposition are like, England simply don’t score six goals in World Cup group games. They don’t control and cruise through quarter-finals. They don’t get the better of half-decent South American teams and they definitely don’t win penalty shootouts… Until now.

Anything is possible now, or at least that’s how it’ll seem for the next few days. Russia 2018 started as a World Cup where England fans took the piss out of their own traditionally far-fetched expectations, yet it’s entering its final week as one which this Three Lions team have a genuine chance of winning.

Of course, things might go spectacularly wrong, either against Croatia on Wednesday night or France or Belgium next Sunday afternoon. In a way though, it doesn’t really matter too much. Expectations have been met and surpassed, and with that, an entire country has remembered what it’s like to enjoy watching their national side again. What happens next is a free hit.

So for now, savour the moment; dare to dream. Things haven’t been this good for a long, long time and may never be this good for decades to come. This is, unquestionably, a team to be proud of and a time when England fans are allowed to get carried away.