This morning we discovered that football is not coming home. But, as a supporter of England, losing at the point of victory is all we know. It’s fine.



This morning equal doses of disappointment and schadenfreude have been supped, as England failed to overcome Croatia, with the primary-school haired Baltic upstarts firing a stake into the heart of that fucking song once and for all.



While we English dared to dream of our first World Cup since 1966, I suggest that the familiarity of disappointment is more important. For many of us, ’66 is just a date, an alienated glory, a scoreline savoured by our dead relatives and the young Queen Liz, the faces that held the trophy aloft made obsolete by those who followed them. While it’s not coming home, but many of us don’t remember it living here. If anything, it’s a dusty room we’re not allowed to go into.

Commentary demigod Martin Tyler defined this morning as “shades of 1990”, whereupon the extremely unfancied English side rode apathy all the way to the semi-final and was crushed by our sudden expectation. I’m willing to state that that is the actual value, the true experience. Being a fan of the Three Lions is being mauled at the very moment you think that they’ve become domesticated.

Simply put, it’s got nothing to do with 1966. It has everything to do with 1986, 1990, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2016. It’s a sense of succeeding to fail, but failing to accept that it will happen again. We ride this duality, attempting to quash the growing worst-case scenarios within. We’ve all felt it, responsible for our feelings of paranoia, somehow believing that our neg vibes will reanimate the corpse of our awful history. We’ve become conditioned to expect it. Which is not a bad thing. We got what we wanted.

So, we lost when we could have won. Again.

We’ll find something to blame, something that is not ourselves. Whether we overperformed, turned the corner, or murdered old demons is besides the point. We’re coming home, just like we knew we would. Three Lions on our shirt, two eyes in our heads rolled.

It’s not this:



It’s this:



So, this morning, Australians, when you see us at work, or school, or over breakfast tables, bring on the banter. We can handle it, but be smart about it. Don’t ask if we’re ok, because you’ll be wasting your time.

Yes, we’re ok. We’re used to it, we can handle it.

The dream is more important than the reality.

On to 2022.


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