After 55 long years since England reached a major final, the national football team faced a heartbreaking defeat by Italy in typical English fashion - penalties.Despite this, and the horrific aftermath of racism from English fans towards Rashford, Saka and Sancho, the Euro 2020 journey has brought the country and nation together from the darkness of the pandemic.
Three lockdowns that have stretched for nearly two whole years (18 months) pervaded everyone’s lives. As necessary as the lockdowns were, and as important as the masks are, the people of the UK and the world in general were feeling fatigued.
That is until Euro 2020 began. Every European nation was on the edge of their seats waiting, praying even, to see if their team will win the coveted cup. Let’s not forget to mention the South American countries for the Copa America also!
As England pressed through the group stage into the quarter-finals to face Germany, I remember eagerly taking a train home to be on time for the game. That sounds commonplace until you realise I walk to and from work every single day.
I imagine others were equally eager. In fact, nearly 30 million viewers on BBC and ITV tuned in for the final, with an additional 6.9 million more streaming on BBC iPlayer. This was the largest viewed event aired on TV since the coverage of Princess Diana’s funeral.
The whole tournament brought friends and family together that the pandemic completely rid during these two years. It gave people something to look forward to. Something to talk about during dinner. It gave folks hope that despite the government’s follies, in the face of the deadly pandemic, there surely is light at the end of the two-year-long tunnel.
Let’s also remember that a year ago it was unthinkable that fans can return to a stadium, let alone Wembley.
A whopping 60,000 attended the final, (fully vaccinated of course), the highest amount of spectators since the lockdowns began.
Perversely, even the disgusting racist abuse united the country by condemning the vile comments found so pervasively on social media, in offices, and at home.
There is comfort in knowing that for every racist person or comment out there, there are thousands more against them. Ideally, it shouldn’t be any feat to stand against evil, but given England nearly winning the Euros, and given the seemingly endless lockdowns, at least we will always win against the racists.