We have reached the World Cup knockout stages and England have made it.
A dramatic late winner from Harry Kane vs Tunisia has comically seen his name among calls for a knighthood and I will not be opposing those calls! England then put to bed the hopes of Panama with a dominant 6-1 victory, a win that helped inspire the nation.
The mood around the Three Lions supporters has not cooled, even after a 1-0 loss to Belgium that saw former Manchester United midfielder Adnan Januzaj take the limelight.
England meet Colombia in Moscow in on Tuesday night after finishing second to Belgium in Group G. That a seemingly tough draw, helped by the sight of the following games that offer an ‘easy’ route to the World Cup semi-finals, if ever there was such a thing.
Southgate is doing it right
I had my reservations when the Football Association (FA) opted to appoint former Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate as manager of the senior team, he’d been managing the England under 21s for some time of course.
But I also had reservations when they initially appointed Sam Allardyce, point being, I’m hard to satisfy.
For me though, Gareth has taken England a step in the right direction.
He’s building the team around a style that suits the players both individually and collectively, with most of them utilised in similar systems at club level and if not, having the skills to fit into this style of play and most importantly it’s working.
The win over Tunisia that would never have been
At 1-1, the newspapers had already written the headlines: ‘Same old England’.
Despite playing well, Harry Kane and co struggled to regain the lead and flashbacks of the 2010 World Cup’s 1-1 draw with the USA and the 0-0 draw with Algeria were on the mind.
In the dying seconds captain Harry Kane headed home and suddenly, those headlines were gone, new ones were written and a hero was born. Harry Edward Kane managed to unite the nation.
Of course, you had the realists who immediately said, ‘It’s only Tunisia’ and discarded any room for optimism. But it was a huge moment, any England team since the beginning of Fabio Capello’s reign and possibly earlier would have failed to get over the line.
This is different
There’s a different aura to this England side than that of its predecessors. It’s happy, it’s together, it’s special.
Yes, we had Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney etc. But I’m not sure the spirit and bond among the squad has ever been so strong.
The Three Lions outclassed Panama and that’s putting it gently. Again ‘It’s only Panama’ is uttered, but this is a different and refreshing England team. It genuinely excites me as a football fan.
I will not be disappointed if we lose to Colombia, I hope we don’t and believe we won’t, but these players are going to do something special one day, the effort and the drive is there.
England fans are right to believe.
Written by Jordan Hackett
Follow Jordan on Twitter @Devildart180
Like O-Posts on Facebook
You can also follow O-Posts on Twitter @OPosts