Boris Johnson, who wore the ‘Three Lions’ jersey at Wembley, now asks for the ‘trophy home’ to be brought and considers awarding the Order of the British Empire to Southgate and his players
England woke up euphoric on Thursday after the controversial victory against Denmark (2-1) in extra time, which will allow them to play their first European Championship final against Italy at Wembley next Sunday. More than half a century after winning their World Cup with the legendary Gordon Banks, Jack and Bobbu Charlton, Bobby Moore or Geoff Hurst, the ‘Three Lions’ finally caress their second great title, as incredible as it may seem.
At this point, the results are imposed in the United Kingdom, which is supposed to be the cradle of the values of ‘fair play’. Few references to the controversy, to that strange penalty on Raheem Sterling that knocked out Denmark, and to the discreet play of the Gareth Southgate team, a very little interventionist technician in the development of the matches.
The news made the front pages of all the newspapers, with the exception of the ‘Financial Times’, and the publications competed in superlatives. “England makes history”, wrote ‘The Times’, 55 years after the English triumph in the 1966 World Cup, its only title. ‘The Sun’ alluded to what is “probably the best sensation in the world”, paraphrasing the well-known slogan of the Danish beer Carlsberg, while for the ‘Daily Star’ this victory is “the greatest dream of all time.” “It is a dream for England,” added ‘The Guardian’. Faced with the historic feat, newspapers such as the ‘Daily Mirror’ and the ‘Daily Express’ made puns with ‘end’ and ‘finally’.
British politicians too were full of praise. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who wore the white England shirt at Wembley on Wednesday night, highlighted the “fantastic performance of Gareth Southgate’s team”, calling on Twitter for the trophy to be brought “home”.
On the Sky News channel, its Finance Minister Rishi Sunak called the victory a “fantastic moment for the country” and a reminder of “what life was like before the coronavirus.” This “unites the country,” added Sunak in a statement to the BBC, and benefits the economy: pubs have been allowed to stay open longer on Sunday, so as not to frustrate fans in the event of an extension.
Meanwhile, waving the red and white flag of England with one hand and their inseparable beer in the other, proud fans celebrated by the thousands in the streets, defying anticovid regulations despite the spike in infections due to the Delta variant. Some even climbed onto the roofs of typical red double-decker London buses.
Nuances in Scotland
According to the publication Politico, a victory against Italy could lead the government to award the Order of the British Empire (MBE) to England coach Southgate and several players.
The mood was much less euphoric in Scotland, a British region with a strong independence movement and whose team was eliminated in the group stage. For the Scottish edition of ‘The Sun’, England only reached the final thanks to ‘a controversial penalty’, transformed into two halves by captain Harry Kane.