Nothing I am about to write will fully do justice to Tuesday night. I know this isn’t the ideal opening line of a blog, but it is the truth. Tuesday night was one of those forever moments that you don’t get very often in life and even less so in when following a sport.
As I sit here at 4pm on Thursday, nearly 48 hours since I entered Wembley knowing the Tilton Talk Team need me to write something, I’m truthfully at a loss.
In the past...
My previous blogs will show that I usually have a lot to say, especially when it comes to football and even more so when its England or Blues I am discussing. I’m always more than happy to tell people my opinion much to my mates’ annoyance but this one is a struggle.
Tuesday was a justification as to why me and so many others do what we do following England for as long as we have. We’ve spent obscene amounts of money over the years waiting for a moment and Tuesday night felt like that was THE moment.
I’m sure this will be laughed at in the same way that we all laughed at Scotland fans celebrating their 0-0 cup win against us in the group, I am more than open to that ridicule. For the 44,000 fans that attended on Tuesday I hope that they all understand what I am trying to say.
Have we just won the tournament? NO. Do we get a trophy for beating Germany? NO. Does that mean that Tuesday means any less based on that? NO.
So What does this mean ?
For 18 months football fans around England have been starved of doing the 1 thing that bonds us all when on England trips. We’ve had to watch our teams on TV, craving for that away day and that feeling you get when following your respective teams. Every person praying that within the 90 minutes of the game your team has ‘that moment’. I’m hoping people reading this know what I mean by this but it’s all us football fans ever want, its why we come back week in week out, it’s that addiction we just can’t kick.
Nothing gets you like football gets you, those feelings you have throughout a game can’t be replicated. It’s either in you or it isn’t.
Tuesday offered everything. Germany in a knockout game at Wembley with the winner having what is deemed to be an ‘easier’ route to the final than we ever imagined. That added to the tension and made the game seem that little bit more special.
In the Stadium…
The atmosphere was electric, and I hope that it came across that way on TV. The stadium may have been half full, but it was the 1st time that you got that proper football feel again. The anthem was loud, the noise was loud, all we needed was for the team to show up.
I’ve been critical of the Manager; his style isn’t for me in terms of how he approaches the game and utilises his players. Tuesday was a justification of everything this manager is trying to implement. What impressed me more was that every single player has brought into the message, it was the most perfect execution of a plan I’ve seen from an England team since 2004 when I started following them. This group of players buy into what he is selling, they work for each other. Not just the 11 on the pitch but the subs on the bench, everyone knows what their game plan is, and individual role is, and they believe that collectively this is the best method of getting results.
If ever a team identified their Manager it was England on Tuesday night.
England controlled large parts of the game and never really looked like doing anything but grounding out the win. When was the last time we said that? Granted this German side aren’t the German side of old, but we looked like the more accomplished team and that is what pleased me the most. We looked like a set of players who believed we could win and more importantly did win!
We ground down the usually efficient Germans knowing that eventually we would get our ‘moment’ and in the 75th minute that moment came.
Sterling did it again
The pandemonium in the ground when the ball hit the net will live with me forever, it was a release from 44,000 who had been starved of that feeling for so long. I described it to friends as an out of body experience, everyone whatever age went ballistic. Bodies were tumbling, strangers were hugging each other, and the noise was deafening. Football was finally back and god we’d missed it.
In typical English fashion though even when winning you are still sceptical. This is England, surely, we can’t win? The Germans always beat us in the end but at least we got ‘that moment’ we all dreamed of.
Kane joined the party
This time was different and 11 minutes later we scored again. I’ve been privileged to see some important goals when following Blues (Stern John, Caddis, Obafemi, John Gayle to name a few!) I don’t remember ever seeing scenes like I did when Kane scored. That’s not do any of those an injustice, those moments will live with me forever but when Kane scored it was like nothing I’d ever seen.
What made it so special was that the goals were scored to the Official England Fans end. The fans behind that goal follow England everywhere, I am not saying that means it meant more but for a lot of them this was redemption. Some would have been at Italia 90, Euro 96, and the World Cup in 2010. Finally, we had our moment against the Germans and the release amongst that section of the fan based made it so much more meaningful. Our country, our little island had finally given us OUR MOMENT.
Onwards we go
I like many would give anything to be in Rome on Saturday, COVID once again providing another barrier to stop us doing what we all long to do.
All we can hope is that we are back at Wembley Wednesday 7th July watching England in the semi-final of another major tournament, once again standing in Wembley hoping that they give us ‘that moment’ once again.
More to come from our Blues Fan on International duty.