A post here at the time of the first game against Tunisia set the criteria for this tournament of ‘most importantly of all though England need to play for a change in a manner that makes the nation proud – win or lose’.
Well, in the battle against Croatia in this first England semi-final for 28 years [itself a fine achievement], that was well and truly delivered last night, wasn’t it?
The nation’s high expectation of actually reaching the Final was not only realistic, but it was one that excited and unified communities around England in a manner that hasn’t been evident for many many decades – with some 37 million men, women, and children watching the game, feeling sick with enthusiastic worry, fingers well chewed, comforting chocolate consumed, many not even serious football fans, nor understanding-of the ‘off-side rule’, eh?
The euphoria of it all was not lost in the least when the final whistle sounded at around 9.30 last night with England defeated but not crushed, because the tears were not just those of dire disappointment, but were those of fantastic pride in a team of brothers who had fought like the lions on their shirts for the win, only to be thwarted in extra time.
Oh yes, we all knew that this Croatia game was going to be a tough physical one and that’s how it turned out, but England built-up a head of steam and worked their cotton socks off, despite some very harsh tackling, and were unlucky when things didn’t go their way on the night, losing 2-1.
Perhaps the team’s bulldog spirit emanates from manager Southgate’s selection of a fifth of the squad from the less-fashionable clubs (and not in top 6 of premiership) and playing the less experienced Jordan Pickford, Kieran Trippier, Jesse Lingard, and Harry Maguire as key players, eh?
England play their last game in Russia against Belgium on Saturday [Saint Petersburg stadium 3pm] for the honour of 3rd Place, and it should be an enjoyable game to watch – certainly less stressful for us! All we ask is that they play with the same spirit and same determination, and show the rest of the World that it WILL be “It’s coming home” next time, eh?
[Not everyone had a great game last night, but they ALL can hold their heads up high – THEY DID THEIR COUNTRY PROUD, didn’t they?]
World Cup Final 15th July France v. Croatia
THE GOLDEN BOOT 2018 [Remaining contenders]
Rank Player Goals
1 Harry Kane 6
2 Romelu Lukaku 4
5 Antoine Griezmann 3
5 Kyhan Mbappe 3