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25th Jun 2018

World Cup Shorts: ‘It’s Coming Home’ has gone meta and it’s brilliant / Ireland we miss you

Nooruddean Choudry

It’s Coming Home

We’ve done it lads. We’ve finally done it. After thirty plus years of hurt, we’ve finally started to properly take the piss out of ourselves and go full meta with the whole England hype train. Russia 2018 marks the point at which the whole of England learnt to stop taking World Cup expectations too seriously and just embrace the inherent silliness of expecting anything.

Whereas the media led bandwagons of nationalist bluster were thoroughly grating in previous years – a lot of it was definitely a case of building them up to knock them down – this year the fans themselves have taken ownership of the whole ‘Football’s Coming Home’ thing and reclaimed it as ridiculous malarky. It’s tongue-in-cheek and brilliant.

Of course the general sense of sarky confidence and in-joke excitement is helped by the fact that England are actually looking pretty, pretty, pretty good thus far, but full credit to England fans everywhere for taking the piss out of themselves a bit and just enjoying it. Could it actually come home? Yes. Will it? Nah, probably not. But this one could be fun regardless.

The Irish

Most people will agree it’s been a rum old World Cup thus far. There’s been something for everything – whether you’re into breathtaking skills, political shenanigans, or snide behaviour. But there’s been a certain summat missing. A key ingredient that’s been absent. I was trying to put my finger on what it was, and then it hit me: no Ireland.

It’s refreshing to see England starting so well for a change, and the growing enthusiasm is infectious (apologies to the good people of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who may disagree), but it’s not the same without our Irish cousins. They add an essential flavour that no one else can. A zealous desire to have a good time regardless of the actual football.

Essentially it’s the Russian public I feel most sorry for. Without the Irish, there’s no one helping old biddies across the road with their shopping, a notable lack of ginger fellas genially proposing to local women they’ve just met, and won’t somebody think of all the dented cars that won’t be fixed by the good samaritans of Mayo and Cork. We miss you, the Boys in Green 🙁


Mexico are undoubtedly one of the breakout performers of the group stages of the tournament, with their committed play, passionate fans, and dashing counter-attacks. Particular focus has been on old-school wide attacker Hirving Lozano. In many ways he is a joyful throwback to slalom wingers of yore – all tricksy feet and zig-zaggy dribbles.

Indeed it’s no wonder that the likes of Barcelona, Inter and Liverpool have been linked with tempting him away from PSV Eindhoven. At 22 years of age and with magic in his feet, the footballing world is his oyster.

But for me, his most impressive contribution has been this selflessly kamikaze intervention in the 12th minute of the South Korea game. Look at him ffs! Literally throwing himself in front of a cocked boot intent on twatting the ball into the net. Risking injury to avoid a very likely goal. What a fucking legend…