Croatia did it, they really did.
The tiny Balkan nation, with not more than a population of 4.2 million reached the final of a World Cup for the first time. In doing so, the Vatreni become the 13th nation to qualify for a World Cup final and the first since Spain in 2010.
Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic did more than defeat England 2-1, they defeated an entire anthem. No words have been more used this tournament than those three ones. Yes those three, “It’s coming home.”
The words associated with England’s foray to the World Cup semi-final have become a source of pride for the supporters of the Three Lions, while serving as a never-ending root of mirth and memes fans of other countries, especially those in the tournament at the business end.
Despite the fact that England avoided the tougher side of the draw and that they beat Tunisia, Panama, Colombia (sans James Rodriguez) and Sweden en route to a semi-final, the sense among the fans seemed to one of pride at their team’s run deep into the tournament. Hopes of a return to the finale, 52 years after that famous triumph, grew brighter after an eraly goal but it was not to be.
Croatia, led by the enigmatic Luka Modric and led by the indefatigable Mandzukic put paid to those hopes in their third extra-time game of the tournament.
There was plenty of appreciation for the magnitude of Croatia’s achievement.
England fans, despite some obvious disappointment, chose to look at the bright side.
There was some criticism too...
And what’s football on Twitter without some pointed humour...
Allow Stephen Fry to sum it up, if you are an England fan...