IT’S COMING HOME …And I’ve heard and said that phrase about 600 times in the last 48 hours, it’s overkill now. But I’m going to keep saying it, because it’s bloody catchy.
England and Panama, the most one-sided game I have seen since the last Sydney Derby. Harry Kane nets his hat trick and little Lingard and Stones play their part in the 6 – 1 THRASHING for the group stages in this magnificent World Cup. It was a sunny walk in the park for England as Panama completely crumbled under the pressure of the Three Lions. An embarrassing display, with 2 penalties and more fouls than I could keep track of. A heap of bodies, tosses and tackles and clumsy play from the Panama players. All ending in England going on top of the table for with 6 points, 6 goals after only having to shoot 7 on target. This obviously leaves every Englishman on the earth grinning from ear to ear, that is also including Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hopping around on his one good leg, singing away and posting it to social media. Young man, sit down before you hurt yourself again, Liverpool need you in one piece next season.
But if there is anything that stood out like a light in a dark room, it was the passion of the Panama fans. This was seen both on the field, on the sidelines, in the stands and outside the stadiums. Panama had scored their first EVER World Cup goal, and this matters to them more than any win, any trophy, that this competition can give.
Felipe Baloy scored from a freekick set piece and not just any free kick, but quite a graceful one as he slides across the grass in the box to reach it, tipping it into the bottom right on the net. A beautifully taken set piece and the crowd goes mental, as if they had won the World Cup there and then. A roar echoed throughout the city of Nizhny Novgorod and history is made for Panama. They have scored, for the first time, in their first EVER World Cup and it is against a powerhouse, past winners and the worlds greatest elite players.
That’s what mattered to them the most and I find it beautiful. Because for once, it wasn’t about a win, or bragging rights, points or a trophy, it was about the pride you have for the colours you wear on your shoulders and the crest over your heart, where you come from and the hell of a road you had to travel on to get there. It was an awakening to every football fan watching, a lesson, that a materialistic piece of metal with an engraving on it does not mean a thing, in the end you do it for the country you love and you do it together.
A cheery smile from the Panama coach with a simple thumbs up, this was enough, this was an emotional rollercoaster full of effort, sacrifices, literal blood, sweat and tears…and it was all worth it, it was enough. For even if it was a loss that people would poke fun at, the team did not care…because when they looked up and saw a sea of Red and Blue cheering with pure ecstasy for their men in Russia. They thought, “They came here to see you, let’s give them something back” and they did.
England gave us a 6 goal thriller, Panama gave us a lesson in life.
It’s not about the trophy, it’s about the colours and the crest.