Dubai: You can’t win something before its won. Likewise, you can’t expect all the rewards without putting in all the years of hard work.
None of these young England players has actually won anything (or at least a great deal) at club level, so why were we (why was I) expecting them to suddenly win a World Cup? It doesn’t happen like that.
Passion, pride, belief, arrogance, without the substance to back it up, is futile. Achieving something early on, and then sitting back and resting on your laurels is suicidal.
Maybe it’s because no one expected us to get this far with this squad that we suddenly began to believe and feel entitled (again), but football is great at keeping that in check and we deservedly had that lesson dished out to us (again) on Wednesday.
Humility is everything. Pride comes before a fall. Those who take the easy path will get found out.
I know I said 40 of the 92 remaining players in the semi-finals played in the English Premier League. And I know I seemed to suggest that this made us somehow sportingly superior, but actually from the Premier League only 33 per cent of the players are English, so the fact we managed to get this far with just that small number of players to choose from is amazing.
Nobody would have had us down as semi-finalists before the tournament, especially after failing to get out of the group at the last World Cup, and getting knocked out against Iceland at Euro 2016.
For that we should be proud and congratulate Croatia on being the better team this time, but we’ll be back and this is a great foundation to learn and build upon with a good coach in Gareth Southgate and some good young promising players.
It’s not coming home this time, but perhaps in a way ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ is, is coming home. If ‘it’ is having belief in our much-maligned national team again, then perhaps that’s the biggest thing we could have won and perhaps it is coming home afterall.