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IT'S COMING HOME

7 reasons to be optimistic about English football and World Cup 2018

A great crop of youngsters, the biggest support in world football and a new national anthem. Football's coming home

English football grumble, grumble, grumble.

We’ve had enough of the hate. English football is in a good place at international level, and we’re here to prove it.

So sit back, get your wally brolly out, forget about how we used to shove Paul Scholes out to the left of midfield and drink it all in.

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The sadness in his eyes

Getty - Contributor
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The sadness in his eyes

1 We’ve got a better home attendance in qualifying than Democratic Republic of Congo

Now before you say that having a better home attendance than DR Congo is nothing to brag about, allow us to drop this nugget of knowledge.

England have the highest average attendance during World Cup 2018 qualification, with DR Congo’s Kinshasa faithful following in second.

So much for no one attending home games.

Drink it all in

Getty - Contributor
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Drink it all in

2 We’re World Cup and European Championship holders

Fifty-one years of hurt?

We don’t know what you’re talking about. England are currently Under-20 World Cup and Under-19 European Championship holders.

Even through complete luck we’re surely going to manage to progress a few of these youngsters, like Ryan Sessegnon and Marcus Edwards, into the first-team.

Gareth Southgate hasn’t been shy in bringing his former Under-21 students with him, so there’s less of a block on young talent than in previous years.

Nothing like a bit of lancing to sharpen the mind before a big game

Reuters
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Nothing like a bit of lancing to sharpen the mind before a big game

3 We’re unbeaten

England haven’t lost a competitive game at home in nine years. Nine years.

We’ve lost two competitive games at home in the 21st century. We’re unbeaten during the current qualification phase.

In short, we’re very good when it comes to qualifying for tournament football. Let’s just not talk about Euro 2008 qualification, because everyone knows that tournament never actually took place.

This never actually happened

News Group Newspapers Ltd
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This never actually happened

4 France 0-0 Luxembourg

There’s nothing like laughing at your rivals’ troubles to make you feel better about yourself.

France’s squad cost their respective clubs an estimated £406m, while Luxembourg cost the equivalent of £27,000.

The moral of the story? There’s no easy games in international football. Yes, we did steal that straight out of Glenn Hoddle’s commentary bingo.

Antoine Griezmann’s hair cost more than the entire Luxembourg squad

AFP or licensors
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Antoine Griezmann’s hair cost more than the entire Luxembourg squad

5 We’ve got a holy trinity

Admit it. Even the biggest international grouch enjoys watching Marcus Rashford, Dele Alli and Harry Kane play for England.

In Kane England have one of the best forwards in a Europe with a strike rate comparable to the very best, and in Alli we’ve got a player with grace and guile in equal measure.

Add Rashford, who, dare we say it, looks the best player to come through the England set-up since Rooney, and we’ve got a genuinely exciting trio.

Southgate even tried to reign in our optimism by playing Rashford woefully out of position, but not even that could stop the 19-year-old.

‘I’m going to play you at right-back next game’

Reuters
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‘I’m going to play you at right-back next game’

6 We’re a bit of a nasty bunch

From Alli’s middle finger, to Eric Dier snapping anything that moves vaguely fast in half, this England side has a bit of an edge to it.

Southgate’s job will be making sure the players stay the right side of the line and don’t let their emotions get the better of them or, in other words, taping Alli’s fingers together.

It’s nice to see and England side that want to play for each other though, even if it does boil over sometimes.

It all makes sense now

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It all makes sense now

7 We’ve got a new national anthem

For years people have complained about ‘God Save the Queen’ and it looks like the FA have finally took note.

So, all together now…

‘The ting goes skrrra pap pap ka ka ka skidiki pap pap and a pu pu drrrr boom skyaaa du du ku ku tun tun poom poom’.

England Anthem - Fire in the Booth

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De Bruyne and Man City host Liverpool in the big game this weekend

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