The result was as good as you could have asked for – but will we go all the way? (Image: PA)
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What were we all worried about?
I suppose all these years of watching England at tournaments have taken their toll.
But that was a convincing victory in the end.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ve seen enough of England at major tournaments to know not to jinx it and say football’s coming home.
But it’s definitely finished its pint and in a taxi. It’s on its way.
Allow yourself a bit of optimism.
The winter felt like it would never end. The pandemic has taken its toll and we’ve all felt it.
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But this group of lads is giving us something to be cheerful about.
Not just because of the results, which have been pretty decent to say the least.
But because of who they are and what they stand for.
When he was a kid, Raheem Sterling could see Wembley from his bedroom window.
Now he’s going to the semi-final under that famous arch.
Harry Kane battled through the football pyramid to get to the top of the game.
Now he’s one of the most sought after strikers in the world and England’s talisman.
Gareth Southgate, in that quiet understated manner of his, has blended a young team who all seem like decent characters. They will give everything.
Because they know what’s at stake. They know they can help heal people who have been through so much, and mend a country that so often feels torn.
The rest of us are willing them on and – for the first time in a long time – letting ourselves believe.