No doubt some will say: one step at a time for England…don’t look beyond the next game… let’s not get ahead of ourselves. To them, I have two simple words: Bore off!
If these aren’t the days for dreaming, then why do we follow this sport? What is fandom, if not hubris before an almost certain fall?
Find me one supporter in Stockholm, Amsterdam, Munich or Zagreb who, after drying their eyes this week, can honestly say: ‘Well, that last-16 exit hurt, but at least we didn’t let ourselves think of possible glory, eh?’
There is no reason why we shouldn’t be dreaming of England winning Euro 2020 this summer
Some will say ‘don’t get ahead of yourselves’, but isn’t this the reason we all love football?
So on that note, time to fast forward our minds to July 12 and ponder the pressing question: how will we toast the end of 55 years of hurt?
Party at BOXPARK? Please.
Open-top bus parade? Sure.
Faux-fawning from politicians who hung these same players out to dry a year ago? Unfortunately.
But these are all incidental concerns. The big issue? What to do about English football’s anthem: Three Lions.
For 25 years, Baddiel, Skinner and The Lightning Seeds have provided the backing track on this journey along a boulevard of broken dreams.
If — no, when — football does finally return home, the calls for a remake will surely grow too loud to ignore. In which case we will need new lyrics, too.
We should leave that to the experts (memo to FA: please no more Ed Sheeran) but even Baddiel and Skinner can only work with what they are given.
England fans, who were excellent on Tuesday, should be dreaming of an open top bus parade
David Baddiel and Frank Skinner will have to tweak the lyrics to Three Lions on July 12
When constructing the original masterpiece they had a tapestry of highlights stretching over 30 years:
- But I still see that.. tackle by Moore
- Nobby dancing. Even the 1998 remake was spoilt for choice after Euro 96 and beyond:
- Pearce shouting rather aggressively
Previous England teams gave Baddiel and Skinner a tapestry of highlights spanning 30 years
It got me thinking: what highlights have the class of Euro 2020 given us so far? Three wins, four goals, none conceded, one cathartic victory over Germany.
All very efficient, all worryingly efficient, in fact. Hardly flush with drama, or options for that familiar, four-line refrain.
Our four goals have been scored from a combined distance of four yards, three have come from the same player.
So, Sterling certain to score? That works.
Hendo screaming? If we’re desperate.
Grealish dancing? Not for me, Clive.
Beyond that, I’m struggling.
This current England team needs to give us more big moments to add to the Three Lions song
It was great to see Declan Rice still trying to celebrate while cramping up after Germany win
‘Mount in (self) iso-lation’ jars.
As for those images of English self-identity — men wearing bloody bandages — all we’ve had so far is Declan Rice cramping up, Platoon-style, as England celebrated their second goal against Germany.
It was glorious to see the midfielder half-cheering, half-writhing, trying to soak up the moment as his hamstring became coated in lactic acid.
But we need more. So, yes, lads, get the job done on Saturday night. Head in the game, and all that.
But keep this in the back of your mind: that desperate block or that crunching tackle could soon enter immortality.