The nation is buoyant. Pubs are once again full (to covid-imposed limits of course), people are spending and everyone is humming the tune to ‘Sweet Caroline’ by Neil Diamond. Football is the reason and Gareth Southgate’s England team is the cause. Steadily progressing through the stages of the Euro 2020 (postponed a year, again to covid), the team has one last game ahead of them. A game of destiny which will decide their immortal status.
Euro 2020 started with little-to-no pressure. Southgate’s men exceeded all expectations at the 2018 World Cup, reaching the semi-finals to everyone’s joy and amazement. Moving into Euro 2020 off the back of a steady but not spectacular qualifying, England were expected to do well, but up against the serial winners of France, Spain, Germany or Belgium, they weren’t expected to go all the way. Well, all of the serial winners are out – Germany at the hands of England no less, and the football world sees two teams, England and Italy, headline the final act.
Both teams are evenly matched, possessing a number of good players but perhaps lacking world star quality. However, that might be the secret behind these two teams. Built on the basis of the collective rather than the individual, England and Italy are two solid and compact sides that give little away. The match up poses are intriguing battle.
For England fans, many of whom have never witnessed their nation get this far in any tournament, this is the stuff of dreams. Many close scrapes but ultimately heartache at another semi-final loss on penalties, Southgate’s side have done the impossible. They have broken through that mental block of semi-final hoodoo to reach their first final since 1966. Now they have a chance to win the tournament and prove collective cohesion is better than individual greatness.
Discerning gent, the Elysium Magazine team isn’t going to predict a score or tell you it’ll be England (or Italy’s) night. Off the back of 18 months where life was put on hold due to the impact of covid, this is the collective outpouring of emotion, frustration, joy and utter excitement we all needed. It might be nervy and make us all anxious but this is a moment to savour and enjoy. Starved of the basics of human life due to an airborne virus, even sport was cancelled as a result. Now, we’re all in dreamland. Sunday 11th July is a date with destiny at Wembley Stadium and a chance for one nation to write their names in the history books of time. Elysium Magazine hopes, wishes and prays our boys can do it. Let’s bring it home.