Stage 1: Denial
“OK, I know we haven’t won anything since 1966, but this time will be different…”
Every two years – give or take failure to qualify (cheers, Steve McClaren) – the closer the tournament gets, the more you deny England are about as much use as a chocolate teapot and genuinely think we can defy the odds and win the bloody thing.
Stage 2: Anger
“What was that utter s***show?!”
Pre-tournament optimism is quickly volleyed into Row Z as we play out a stagnant 0-0 draw against a team playing with three professionals, a part-time dentist and seven traffic cones.
Stage 3: Bargaining
Final Group Game
“I’ll never criticise the boys again if we somehow nick a win and finish second… hopefully we don’t draw Germany in the last sixteen”
England somehow pinch a win thanks to a fourth-minute own goal and a lot of time-wasting. Inevitably Germany await in the last sixteen…
Updated 3rd July: England’s last game.
Stage 4: Depression
Germany Dump England Out
“Why was I born in Bolton? Why couldn’t I have been born in Berlin?!”
England succumb to the power of German quality/efficiency/ability-to-score-from-12-yards and crash out just as the tournament is getting going.
Stage 4: Elation
England Dump Germany Out
England beat Germany (not that we ever doubted them) and march on towards glory.
Stage 5: Acceptance
“Of course we weren’t going to win, what was I thinking, we’re f***ing useless!” England are knocked out and you wake up feeling like a bit of a plank for getting caught up in the ‘It’s Coming Home’ pre-tournament fever. … and repeat every two/four years!
Stage 5: IT’S COMING HOME!
Arise, Sir Gareth!
“Football’s come home!”
England smash Italy in the final and go on to win every tournament for the next forty years!