Football can do amazing things to a country. Just look at England. If you want to get any shopping done there then the best time is when the national team are playing. The streets are completely empty with everyone glued to a television whether at home or at a public viewing. Just don’t try to reward yourself with a cold beer at the end as getting into pubs is nigh on impossible.
Just two years ago, England returned home from the European Championships in France hoping that nobody noticed. The team squeezed through the group stages and then were given a humiliating second round lesson by Iceland. It followed the dismal results and performances from the previous tournaments. The 2010 and 2014 World Cups were forgettable at best and the 2012 Euros were no better but at least they qualified for that, unlike the 2008 version.
The lack of expectations this time around were genuine and the chant of ‘Football’s Coming Home’ were ironic in the beginning as there was little hope. The irony has been replaced by genuine excitement and hope. After all, if you can’t dream when you are 90 minutes away from the World cup final then you really shouldn’t be watching football, it obviously isn’t the sport for you.
England loves England again after a time when the country didn’t even like the national team. Whatever happens, the team is going to return home to quite a welcome. The relationship has been restored.