This summer has been welcoming and very hot but not as much fun as watching the England team during July.
We may still be searching for that elusive second star but the ‘feel good’ the team brought to the country was superb. Whether it was in the pub or sharing the moments of Russia 2018 with friends, this World Cup was up there with Italia 90 as one of the best I’ve witnessed.
Alas, the second half in the semi final against Croatia wasn’t the best and England bowed out in extra time. Even in defeat the Three Lions have showed that English football has unearthed some quality players that could develop in the coming years to challenge the very best in European and World Football.
The emergence of John Stones and Harry McGuire in the middle of the defence has been well documented, young and skilful with the ability to score from our fantastic set pieces, another player to catch the eye was Kieran Trippier, a wing back with a superb shot, his early goal in the semi had thousands of pints thrown into the night sky. Many of the squad have impressed and maybe their best is still to come.
Harry Kane could still collect the ‘Golden Boot’ if England’s defence can stop Belgium’s leading scorer Lukaku adding two goals to his World Cup tally. The talismanic English striker has scored the goals in the run to the semi, but many may remember the first half chance he missed against Croatia more than the ones he scored. He remains a much sought after striker and will be around when the World Cup is played in Qatar in 2022.
Gareth Southgate won hearts and minds with the squad he picked for Russia, it was young, vibrant and nearly good enough to claim a place in the final. Unlike his foreign predecessors he made the press welcome, mixing darts with interviews and the coverage in the papers was the most positive I’ve seen in a long while.
England face Belgium for the bronze medal on Saturday and if they win they will be the most successful English team in the World Cup team since Bobby Moore lifted the trophy back in 1966.
Thank you lads for making us smile, maybe next time you'll bring home the trophy. It was great while it lasted and made us proud, that in itself is a achievement many England teams have failed to do.
By Keith Ingham