It nearly came home.

It nearly came home.

So, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has gone into work with a slightly glum expression and the words “what if” imprinted onto my brain.

To be honest, I was supposed to be writing this blog about the quarter final win over Sweden, but I was too busy watching the semis. I, along with 26.5 million people, watched on as England lost (were totally robbed) to the better team (they were better at lying on the floor in extra time) and are now on their way home.

So, I will start with the quarters, where 20 million people watch us beat our boogie team in Sweden. Now, we did a small survey about who was watching the match and what they thought might happen. Obviously being English, we knew that we would win (we hoped and prayed at any deity that might be listening), but we also had in the back of our head that we were usually crap in major tournaments. This is probably why 56% of respondent thought we’d only win by 1 goal, though there was some optimism, one person said “yep, it’ll be 5-0 England”, we can all dream, bit like the two Northern Irish respondents who said Sweden would win.

This win clearly led to the heightened anticipation that this team would do something that no Englishman had done in 52 years, do as well as the England women’s team and get to a major tournament final (yes, I did have to use Google for that one).

I’m not going to go into much detail about the semi final loss. Firstly, because it is still too fresh. Secondly, because this needs to be PG. But I will say this, Trippier can bend it like Beckham, Stirling did a sterling job and Mandzukic does not like it when you try to pick him up.

I know that in the end, hearts were broken and all the people watching the semi-final in Hyde Park got covered in their own beer for nothing. But it has shown that there can be a cautious optimism about the future, in football at least, maybe not Brexit.

Written by Stephen Douthwaite