Gary Lineker has a blunt message 'non English football fans'
The race to claim no one REALLY believed England would win the World Cup is well underway.
Back in those misty group stages days, there was reason to get offended when Gary Neville claimed England's defeat to Belgium was a good thing.
The former England player, and assistant coach, felt England had landed on their feet by losing 1-0 to Roberto Martinez' men. In failing to win and in failing to draw, England were the real victors.
Yes, they would have to play Colombia instead of Japan BUT if they could get past the South Americans, the path to the final was none too tricky. Some of the English tabloids followed suit and listed that path, with Sweden and Croatia getting put to the sword and Brazil waiting in Moscow on July 15.
There was a certain arrogance to that take on events but at least Neville later admitted, on Twitter, that many sides on England's half of the draw would be saying the same thing.
But then Colombia were beaten, on penalties(!), and Sweden were swatted aside with ease. England were in their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years and it was time to believe. France, Belgium and Croatia joined them in the final four. There were no South Americans to worry about and no sign of Germany. Italy were already, albeit reluctantly, deep into their summer holidays.
If you were English and didn't believe your team had a genuine chance, you were obviously the type of person that looked upon clouds as a mass of water drops suspended in the atmosphere.
It's Coming Home. It may have started off as a in-joke but that line, that song and that hash-tag began to bed in. Fans started to believe that this was it. England had a chance.
Rio Ferdinand was definitely swept up in the euphoria when he confidently declared England would beat the Croatians 3-0. He made the prediction in a BBC studio mere feet from Gary Lineker, who smiled in return and moved on to Alan Shearer.
Lineker did not reveal, then, what he has now.
In response to the ribbing Lineker, his BBC colleagues and Gareth Southgate's team have received since their 2-1 defeat to the Croats, he declared:
'No one really thought we'd win it'.
Dear non English football fans.
Football’s coming home is a fun song highlighting the lack of success of our football team for decades. No one really thought we’d win it. I totally get why you might think it was arrogance, but it’s more our self deprecatory sense of humour. 👍🏻
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 14, 2018
None of the thousands of England fans that forked out even more thousands of Euro to get to the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. None of the tens of thousands that watched the game on big screen at Hyde Park and various other public gatherings across the country. None of the 24,200,000 million viewers that watched the drama unfold on ITV.
None of the journalists and pundits that predicted England to beat Croatia and march on to the final. None of the players' friends and families, presumably, who followed the team across Russia.
Nope. According to Lineker, this was all an elaborate ruse that was England's famous, self-deprecatory humour at its' very best.
No point admitting you got a little carried away when you can instead claim you were taking the piss the whole time, even when your country was two games from glory.
Following England's quarter final win, Lineker called England "amazing" and turned over to Shearer for his take. The former Newcastle and England forward declared:
"It's magnificent. Thoroughly deserved. It's coming home - I'll end on that!"
They all knew.
We hope you knew too, and knew that they knew. They are the best jokes of all.