If you think we’re going to get carried away after a couple of friendly wins, then you’d be absolutely right.
A Marcus Rashford thunderthwack and a Dele/Wele Kansas City Shuffle ensured England’s last pre-World Cup friendly watered the blooming the optimism in fans across the nation.
And some lacklustre performances from the favourites has encouraged England fans further.
Germany, Brazil and Argentina’s frustrations in particular have led to an increase in the confirmed cases of World Cup fever across the country.
We don’t expect a miracle.
The crushing disappointments of 2010 and 2014 led to a re-evaluation of expectation.
Pain like that can not be forgotten.
A quarter-final would be fun though, wouldn’t it?
But if the other big teams continue to fall flat then dare we suggest a semi?
And anything can happen at that stage.
Oh bloody hell, we can’t help ourselves.
Let’s (try) look at this objectively.
We’re light at centre-back and in centre-midfield.
Our keepers are inexperienced at international level.
Danny Welbeck is the top international goalscorer in the squad, with a gentleman’s tally of 16.
However, in Harry Kane we have a world-class goalscorer, something only a handful of other countries boast.
Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Marcus Rashford are all capable of divine inspiration.
We’re weirdly strong at full-back/wing-back.
The lads are unbeaten in their last ten fixtures, with Germany, Brazil, Netherlands and Italy featured as opponents.
Most importantly, Gareth Southgate as instilled a sense of purpose and direction.
We have our flaws, but we’re more self-aware than any England squad in the last 20 years.
It’s the hope that kills of course.
But it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.
It can’t just be us who thinks this England side is actually rather likeable?
The ‘Golden Generation’ of Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney, Beckham, and co were so intimidatingly good (on paper), it was impossible to attach an underdog tag to their coattails.
The current crop have a soft underbelly, and that’s what makes them endearing.
The inevitable wave of hopeless optimism before England’s first game in a major tournament is all-conquering.
But you’re better off surrendering to it early and enjoying the butterflies-in-stomach feeling while it lasts.
Football may not be coming home necessarily.
But home is a nice place to be all the same.
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