::: FistedAway today welcomes a guest post from Elliott, editor of the rather lovely Futfanatico :::
Save your St. Crispin’s Day speech for another tournament. Rather than roll into the semifinals of the U21 Championships, Stuart Pearce’s side won the hearts, admiration, and plaudits of its home nation for a scintillating run all the way to the end of the group stage. While some naysayers may turn their nose at the Three Lions, the majority of fans have showered them with praise and adoration. Nobody can deny their bravery in playing three full games in the space of a few weeks.
Nick D, of London, was elated that the players managed to “play something approaching football for ninety minutes” with only a single halftime break and three substitutes. The Three Lions accomplished this feat no less than three times in the span of two weeks! Obviously, national pride is at an all time high. Droves of fans flocked to Heathrow Airport to welcome home their heroes. Members of the press have dubbed them “the Red Barons” for their guile in overcoming insurmountable odds.
Of course, the ugly spector of hubris has reared its head. Will England be too conceited after such a bombastic and impressive performance? Conversely, the success may also place enormous amounts of pressure on the next young England squad. Captain Phil Jones has already spoken candidly about the fear while playing for England. But these concerns are for another day.
Immediately after the glorious loss to the Czech Republic, Pearce heaped praise on his players. He also gave credit to the full national side. “A few years ago, when the senior side failed to qualify for the European Championships, we knew the bar had been elevated. I asked myself – did the lads have it in them to push themselves and soar beyond such great heights?”. With a wink and a smirk, he ended the press conference. Results speak louder than words.