It’s been eight days since Croatia knocked England out of the World Cup in Russia. Yes, eight long, long days. As France lifted the prized trophy last Sunday, many an England fan would have been dreaming about what might have been. We had the lead, we were one game away from the final – it almost came home.
Gareth Southgate’s young team surprised many people this summer, playing an exciting style of football throughout. Who would have thought that our fairly inexperienced side – most of whom weren’t even alive the last time England reached the semis – would lift the country in such an impressive manor?

A winning feeling

In our first group game, captain Harry Kane’s smoothly slicked back hair provided the perfect cushioning for a few winning headed goals. From there on in, the belief, unity and mood of both team and country soared. This was a tournament of positivity for a nation that, well, was due a bit of happiness.
As the Brexit debacle continues to trudge along, this was a much-welcomed boost. Pubs were full to the brim, the long summer days seemed that bit longer and the excitement was building. In a strange way, we started to believe. The pressure was off, and we all enjoyed a sporting event that gave our nation a lot more than expected.
Sport can be a complete enigma, and you never know what you’re going to get. Like Southgate’s waist coat, England were great to look at – both on and off the pitch. The manager had instilled a new spirit amongst the group, and that no-doubt rubbed off amongst us fans.

Great for the nation

While the feeling now might not be of complete happiness, this was a great achievement. Nobody expected the side to perform like they did, keeping the nation gripped for the duration of the competition. The draw favoured our men towards the end, but that shouldn’t take away from their efforts.
So, what next? This might not happen for a while, actually, so let’s just look back at it all fondly. The Ryder Cup, European Championships, Olympics and many more competitions will be with us quicker than we know it, after all. Coming fourth may not result in a record amount of baby Gareth or Harrys, but it has brought everybody closer.
Whether football is your thing or not, there’s no denying the impact that an international sporting event can have upon a country. This, for me, has been one of the biggest perks of the 2018 World Cup. The positive online reports, the talk on public transport, the great scenes on TV; long may they all continue!