Expert: England can go one level up with penalty performance in Qatar
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England lost the final of the European Championship on Sunday, after 19-year-old Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka had his decisive penalty saved by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in a dramatic shootout. It was England’s first major tournament final since their 1966 World Cup victory, and during the run to the final fans across the country could be heard belting out ‘Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home)’ – Skinner, David Baddiel, and The Lightning Seeds’ unofficial England anthem recorded 25 years earlier. The song has been much maligned by the home nations and countries across Europe.
Italian centre-back and European final goal-scorer Leonardo Bonucci claimed the Italian camp even used it as a source of motivation.
He said: “We heard it day in day out ever since Wednesday night since the Denmark game that the cup would be coming home to London.
“Sorry for them but actually the cup will be taking a nice flight to Rome and that way Italians all over the world can savour this competition.
“It is for everyone, we said from day one it was for them and for us.”
Though a number of Scottish fans also considered the song “arrogant” and “annoying” during England’s Euro campaign, according to Skinner the track was inspired by famous Scottish singer Rod Stewart.
The comic claimed in 2019 that ‘Three Lions’ was penned in response to Stewart’s World Cup battle cry Ole Ola, written for the Scotland squad ahead of Ally MacLeod’s disastrous Argentina 78 campaign.
Skinner told the Scottish Sun: “You have to remember we had to put up with ‘Ole ola, Ole ola — we’re gonna bring that World Cup back from over there.
“There’s nothing wrong with a bit of tribalism.
“I don’t think England is successful enough for the song to be seen as ramming it down everyone’s throats.
“If England were winning things, they might feel like that.
“At the moment we might be the best of the home nations, but none of us are winning any tournaments.”
In 1996 German fans hijacked the song’s infamous chorus ‘It’s coming home, it’s coming, football’s coming home’ upon knocking out England on penalties in the semi-final of the 1996 tournament.
Skinner said: “The Croatians said they played it in order to motivate their team before our World Cup semi-final [in 2018].
“Apparently they thought it incredibly arrogant for us to suggest that England was the home of football.”
Scotland, who drew with 0-0 with England at Wembley in the second group game of Euro 2020, also saw fans and ex-players speak out against the song, despite its Scottish influence.
TV pundit, former Liverpool player, and proud Scotsman capped 54 times for his country, Graeme Souness, claimed he believed the song should be scrapped after England’s World Cup semi-final exit to Croatia in 2018.
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Souness said: “If I was Gareth Southgate sitting down to write his Russia 2018 report for the FA the top of my notepad would be the following – never allow that song, ‘Football’s Coming Home’ to be played again during a major tournament.
“Football’s coming home, is it? So, England effectively own the sport.
“I don’t think so.
“They didn’t have a monopoly on it when their teams and the FA were big players in the global power game back in the last century, and they don’t now.
“You can say: it’s just a song, only a bit of fun, but if I’m an opposition player, it would irritate the life out of me.
“That’s my motivation there and then, and that’s how Croatia said they had channelled the song.
“These are not the words of a bitter and twisted Scotsman.
“I have spent most of my working life in England and want to see the national team do well.”
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