I did, of course, watch England’s match. I also admit that read about 50 pages of a novel during its course. I was not glued to the screen in what proved to be a disappointing performance after a glorious first half. I think I was hiding from an outcome that seemed pretty inevitable, and probably justified, from the interval onwards.
But that still left the best England performance for decades. I was disappointed the players took their medals off so quickly. They should have acknowledged just what an achievement this was.
And yes, I feared for the players who did not score penalties and immediately imagined the racist abuse it is apparent they now have had. I am ashamed of those who have been abusive, as I am ashamed of the vandalism and rioting by supposed English fans.
I am ashamed that the Met, which could turn out in force to wrestle women to the ground when they were at a vigil in March but could not turn up to police Wembley or Leicester Square appropriately. I would like to know why.
I was as ashamed of the mass Covid spreading event that the final was - which will surely have sent the wrong political and behavioural messages on managing the massive threat we now face. If in the months to come we face an NHS crisis let no one say that this was not chosen.
I am ashamed by Johnson’s shameless adoption of football as if Southgate’s vision of inclusiveness has anything remotely to do with him.
But let’s talk positives.
This team played better than anyone dared hope.
It had a manager better than anyone thought possible.
It was made up of players who chose to represent England. At least half the squad, including the captain, could have represented other countries. It represented inclusivity by choice.
It took a stand by taking a knee, wearing a rainbow armband, condemning the booing and recognising that only together could they succeed.
I like the fact that the team genuinely seem to like each other, although Pickford hides it will when any defender lets someone through towards goal.
I admire the respect the manager obviously has for his players.
To put it simply. Football got this about as right as it could. The fans didn’t. The Met didn’t. The government definitely did not. But football did. That’s some achievement, well worth respecting.
I salute a really good achievement.