A message to England: Savour this day

Keep those emails coming to…

Savour this day
My first World Cup memory is 2002 England vs Argentina. I saw the hype and excitement but I didn’t really appreciate it. This was followed by passing interest in both Euro 04 and WC 06.

I don’t really remember England’s routes in the competition to get these games but I remember specific moments. I remember Ronaldinho’s wonder free-kick. I remember been out in the street with my England flag during Portugal Vs England. I remember cheering Owen Hargreaves as he ran around like a crazed madman then 06. To me these were unfortunate moments for England that prevented us from winning what was ours.

Well come 2008 I don’t remember anything. World Cup 2010 I remember that ball crossing the line. Euro 2012 I remember Joe Hart diving out the way as Pirlo chipped it. I remember skipping England Vs Costa Rica as it wasn’t important. I remember Iceland.

The one thing I don’t remember about any of those tournaments is the excitement leading up to the game. I don’t remember the dreaming of us going all the way to the final. I just remember disappointment.

So today I ask all England fans to savour this day. This could be the last day in a longer than expected journey this summer. Really appreciate the moment. Embrace the butterflies and the sickness. Embrace the constant worry of whether Croatia will be too tired. Embrace the fact your worrying about a one-on-one being missed in a World Cup semi final.

This could be it for the next 4 years. Savour the day.
Dale Leeds

God we’ve waited for this
Since ’86 I’ve always felt England were owed a World Cup. I really thought they would have won it. I was 12. Now I feel that if they win this one that they cheated by avoiding Brazil. I’m not English so I’m not bricking it like most of you lot. Lose today, it’s still an amazing achievement and then win it in ‘22.

I’m breaking nearly 20 years of lurking for this and I’m definitely blaming the beer.
Carihuela Matt

Mbappe is already feeling the backlash
Kylian Mbappe is a wonderful footballer and will no doubt grow into an even more wonderful one. But he’ll also become one of the greatest arrogant pr*cks of our time if things continue to progress the way they are.

Good win for France though, and fair play to Belgium for getting this far. Though that questions about whether Martinez is winging it or not remains. Shades of those days as an Everton fan returned with Bobby looking confused, Rom ambling about looking frustrated and the team losing.

De Bruyne deserved more though. If only for that driven pass from half way that Lukaku didn’t quite get on the end of.

Also well done Ronaldo. You’ve managed to be the centre of attention come World Cup final time even though Portugal got knocked out over a week ago.
Owen Davidson (that pass though)

Gutted for Belgium
Gutted for Belgium tonight. Going into the tournament we all knew France had a ridiculously talented squad. But Belgium have enchanted us here and created a party spirit in the whole country with their amazing run. Having made it so far, and seeing how they started the game, we thought Belgium were going to win on the night. The atmosphere has suddenly gone quiet but there’s still pride in the best achievement since 1986.

My only wish now is for England to make the final -and beat France. At least there won’t be a conflict of loyalties in my Anglo-Belgian household. I would find French boasting for the next 20 years, unbearable.

Frankly I thought les Bleus were poor tonight and England would definitely be able to beat them. Bring it home!
Paul in Brussels

Did Martinez cock it up?
So you beat Brazil and in the first half play them off the park so what do you do for the next round? Change your formation back to a variation of the one which has looked rubbish all tournament, flood the midfield which removes the space your top boy players need to hurt the opposition and force Lukaku to play off the shoulder where, in my opinion, nullifies his strengths.

Absolute madness from Martinez. This isn’t taking anything away from a beautiful French defensive display but why play into their hands? Why restrict your best players? Why flood the area you can do most damage and why not force the French out of their defensive solidity more to expose gaps?

If England fall tonight I will still be so happy and proud of the team for their efforts and for Gareth SouthGreat finding a formation that suits the players and creating a team/squad who have left it all on the pitch. If I was a Belgian last night I would be screaming blue murder at the fact the manager hindered the team before they even stepped foot onto the pitch. Man is an utter maverick and when blessed with arguably the best starting XI in the tournament can still someone f it all up with his decisions.
Lee (I’m still can’t quite believe we are in the Semis) AFC.

Respect France, but can you love them?
France are an outstanding side, and if they win the tournament they’ll be very worthy champions. But they seem to start every match with the goal of winning 1-0. So I can admire them, but I can’t love them. And love is what football is all about.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA (Come on England!)

On the Ronaldo deal
100 million and a 4 year contract for a 33 year old attacking player is absolutely mental. Juve are clearly banking on recouping that and then some via marketing rights alone. Good chance they’ll get it.
Matt Wright, Gunner in Aus

Well, it’s official. CR7 to Juve. I’m astonished. I’m amazed that I can simultaneously hold two thoughts in my head: 1) It makes sense for Real Madrid to sell a 34ish year old player for gobs of cash, particularly in a rebuilding year and 2) WTF are they thinking selling a generational talent who will likely win at least another Ballon d’Or. I could write more, but the game is starting.

Until next time,
Kevin (I’m really just ticked we didn’t front the cash), MUFC, USA

So Cristiano Ronaldo is off to Juventus, all that came to my mind was imagine if they finally win that Champions League title with him in their side? During the same season that Buffon has just left, would be even more heartbreaking for Buffon if it was Juventus v PSG in the final and Ronaldo scores that winner.
Mikey, CFC

World Cup signing flops
Karel Poborsky is a good start but the list is endless on not signing players off the back of a decent World Cup, most recently a fortune for James Rodriguez to produce nothing in the four years since smacking a Puskás award winner in 2014.

Add Denilson 1998 (to Betis), Kleberson 2002 (to Man Utd), Javier Margas 1998 (to WHam), and Daniel Amokachi 1994 (to Everton). Christ throw in pretty much the entire 2002 Senegal squad (Excluding “The Wardrobe” as he was immense for Fulham) and genuinely I could go on.

A World Cup is a 3 to 7 game tournament over the space of a few weeks. To suggest teams should pay over the odds, for players like Vidra, is bonkers. If he’s 29 and you only heard of him 3 weeks ago, how good do you really think he is?

Remember, Seamus Coleman cost £60,000 from Sligo Rovers to Everton and he was uncapped at the time. He’s now captain of his country and, if he rediscovers pre-horrific injury form, one of the best in his position in the Premier League.
Edward Canhands (Hates the bandwagon)

Arsenal fans are feeling remarkably calm
I know we should be talking about the game last night or tonight (we will get to the final but lose to france) but I wanted to quickly say I completely agree with your article on Arsenal’s transfer business. For the first time, I feel calm and assured that were buying logically and for the benefit of the team.

Sure I got over excited when Mesut F***** Ozil was announced and I couldn’t believe we signed Alexis, who both turned out to be great. But it feels like this summer we finally saw our gaps and got genuine rounds pegs to fill the round holes.

We still need to sign Ramsey onto a new contract but if Emery can get a song out of Lacazette and Aubameyang together while getting an extra 10-20% out of the rest of the team, my bet that we will win the league once Arsene resigned might not be so stupid after all.
Rob A (solving a problem like Modric is easier than a problem like Kante or Mbappe) AFC

But what’s going on at Spurs?
What’s going on at Spurs? Pochettino makes it very clear that we need to bed in signings quickly over the summer to avoid the annual slow start in August and we are on the way to doing the same thing again. Other than a tenuous link to Jack Grealish, we are still no further away from having Sissoko, Janssen and Llorente to call upon to change a game, whilst those around us have strengthened.

I’m expecting contract extensions to be announced as new signings, and a last day scramble to sign Crouch, Brunt and Shaqiri.
Av, Spurs, London (It’s coming home)

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