It’s Coming Home… Soon
England fans were treated to a different World Cup experience than they were used to this year. While it didn’t end the way many had hoped, it’s safe to say that it ended better than pretty much everybody expected prior to the tournament kicking off last month.
Fans are used to a team with big expectations that typically falls short. However, this year felt different from the start. This is a younger team than fans are used to seeing. In fact, England was the third youngest team in the tournament, with only Nigeria and France fielding younger squads. The biggest star on the team, Harry Kane, is just 24 years old. The Wayne Rooney-Frank Lampard-Steven Gerard era that most casual fans are familiar with is gone. The only remaining connection from the previous era is Ashley Young, and at 33 years old it’s likely that his time with the national squad has come to an end.
For England, it was pretty much a sure thing that they would make it out of their group. Belgium was the only other threat, but by the time they played each other the match had no meaning. England had squeaked by Tunisia thanks to a late winner from Kane, and then they went on to set a record in their 6-1 win over Panama.
England had scored eight goals through two games, making them one of the highest scoring teams in the tournament along with Belgium and Russia. Of the eight goals, five of them had come from Kane, placing him among the top of the Golden Boot standings. By the time England and Belgium met, the knockout bracket was formed aside from the two. However, with the way everything worked out, whoever won the group would be placed into the more difficult side of the bracket. Belgium would win 1-0, but England found themselves in a better position to make a run. This was unfamiliar territory for England fans, and it was around this time when a lot of people started to believe… It’s Coming Home.
It was impossible to avoid. It’s Coming Home was all over social media.
England was able to shake some of the “curses” that have plagued them over the past few decades. First, they were able to win a penalty shootout for the first time since 1996, after losing their last 5 attempts.
The team known for choking had found their way into the quarterfinals, and were set for a matchup with Sweden. While they’re not typically known as a soccer powerhouse, Sweden was able to come out on top in their group ahead of Mexico and Germany. So when England beat Sweden 2-0 to reach their first World Cup semi-final since 1990, it was a big step for a team not familiar with this kind of success and a young team still trying to gain experience.
So in the semi-final when Kieran Trippier scored just five minutes into the game, fans in England were more convinced than ever that It’s Coming Home. England controlled the first half of their matchup against Croatia, with numerous chances to double their lead and really put the game out of reach, but the Three Lions were unable to convert. Things began to fall apart in the second half. England looked slow, played too much in their own end, and made a lot of sloppy plays that lead to the tying goal, and eventually game-winner in extra time. While it’s disappointing to get so close and lose, it’s really important to keep in mind that this team wasn’t expected to do well. This World Cup was meant to be a learning experience for a young team, with the hopes that they would be able to compete at the 2020 Euros and 2022 World Cup.
This really is just the beginning with this team, and for everyone making jokes about how the only thing coming home is the team, just remember one thing…
Just wait, because in a few years It’s Coming Home.