England ‘deliver’ at raucous Wembley; Kane, Southgate hail Three Lions
LONDON -- All day and all night long, ‘Football’s Coming Home’ will be sung across England following their win against Germany at Wembley.
40,000 home fans sounded like 400,000 at Wembley. The roar at the final whistle sounded like a huge jet engine. England believes in their team. Finally.
Driving into London before the game, England flags hung on bridges and out of cars, while every single radio and TV station talked about the formation and team selections. Everyone is an expert. Everybody is all in.
Before the game the streets outside Wembley were awash with flares, flags and beer flying in the air as jubilant fans were confident their team could get past Germany. They did, and fairly comfortably too.
England are in the quarterfinals of EURO 2020 and with the semifinals and final at their Wembley home, plus the draw opening up for them, this young Three Lions team dream of bringing football home. Right to the front door.
Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane were the goalscoring heroes against Germany, as England beat their bitter rivals for the first time since the World Cup final in 1966 in the knockout rounds of a major tournament.
Wembley atmosphere helps players deliver
Speaking after the game, captain Harry Kane is looking ahead to the quarterfinal but hailed his team for delivering under pressure.
“Amazing day, amazing game. To hear Wembley like this, it was a moment we will never forget,” Kane told the BBC. “Great performance. 2-0. Another clean sheet. The perfect afternoon. We will enjoy this one but we know we have another big one on Saturday now.”
“It doesn’t get any bigger than this. Knockout game against a big nation. At home. When all of the pressure is on and expectation is on, and we delivered. We should be proud of that. But the bottom line is we don’t want to stop here. As a group of players and coaching staff, we are not done yet. I loved every second of it. Hopefully we will back here in the semifinal and final.”
Three Lions keen to make most of opportunity
England boss Gareth Southgate (who switched England’s formation to 3-4-3 for this game and it worked a treat) was keen to make sure that England make the most of this golden opportunity to at least reach the final.
England will face either Sweden or Ukraine in their quarterfinal in Rome on Saturday, and if they win they will play one of Denmark or Czech Republic in the semifinal at Wembley, for a place in the final at Wembley.
“That is as good an atmosphere as I can remember at Wembley,” Southgate smiled. “We deserved to win. But straight away I had to say to them I am the party pooper because if we don’t take advantage of that on Saturday now, it doesn’t count for anything.”
“The players were immense, right the way through the team. They have given the fans in the stadium who were also incredible. I’ve been here with a full house and not heard it anywhere near the levels the crowd found today. They were behind every challenge, every time we pressed the ball, every run we had. The energy was incredible in the stadium.
“To be able to send them home feeling as they do tonight, to hear them at the end, you can’t beat a bit of ‘Sweet Caroline’ can you! That is a belter. To know that so many millions of people after such a difficult year at home can have that enjoyment that we will have given them today, that is very special.”
England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who has been their standout player at the tournament so far and is yet to concede a goal, echoed those views from Southgate.
“We are going to take it step-by-step. We came through this and it is about preparing right,” Pickford said. “It was a brilliant performance from everyone on the pitch. it was everyone.”
Everyone in England is behind their team as the players, fans and everyone else seems to truly believe ‘Football is Coming Home’ this summer.
There is still a lot of work still to do, but England have set themselves up for success better than anybody expected. Especially their long-suffering fans.