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England v Germany - UEFA Euro 2020: Round of 16

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England’s swashbuckling Euro 2020 odyssey has reawakened the Sunderland beast inside

The Three Lions have once again delivered - has it made us rediscover our football mojo? For Ian Bendelow the answer is yes!

Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

For so many reasons England needed that. As Sunderland fans, we needed that.

In the short term, the joy has been removed from so many things in life that transcends football. Looking further back in history, the fact it was Germany means all sorts of hoodoo-related nonsense has been not just removed, but torn to shreds.

The ghosts of ‘96 have been laid to rest, as they say.

My God, when those goals went in. My two year old daughter was upstairs at the time: apparently she paused her tea party with all the bears, pointed at the door, and said “Daddy, noise”. Get used to it kiddo, no more cricket ground applause from me anymore.

I’m sure it was the same everywhere; eyes popping, veins bulging, arms outstretched, hugging your mates - or people you’re simply standing in the same patch of spilled lager as for the last two hours - ten times harder than you need to is something quite special. The visceral release of ecstasy and energy is what football is all about.

England v Germany - UEFA Euro 2020: Round of 16 Photo by Eddie Keogh - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

When Harry Kane stooped to head the ball home it acted as some sort of lethal accelerant to whatever it was inside me that was waiting to come out, which just went whoosh.

The Kraken was well and truly released and I’ll be honest I was a bit taken aback.

The one man who remained calm - impassive almost - was Southgate, standing on the touchline with the expression of a man who was ordering his fish and chips on a Friday night, torn between whether to go for cod or haddock.

Maybe it’s good to have one person in this country who is grounded. It certainly isn’t me, or many others it seems.

But do you know what? I’m not sorry, because this is more about one victory.

I just hope that something has been awakened inside me that has bought back that emotional connection with football that has been forcibly removed in the last year or so. I’ve no doubt it’s due to being unable to go to games, but there’s the inescapable feeling I’ve allowed it to drift, and therefore there’s a bit of guilt there.

England v Germany - UEFA Euro 2020: Round of 16 Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

It started to reignite when Tielemans smashed the ball in from distance in the FA Cup final. With any luck the same will apply to Sunderland when the new season gets underway, because although this feels good right now, the Lads are our bread and butter.

For now, however, I’ll stick to getting far too carried away by a round-of-16 victory against a team who are very much on the wane.

Yes there are naysayers out there, but hopefully, you won’t have read this far. Because if you can’t allow football to let you dream, then what on earth is the point.


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