Euro 2020: Football’s coming home? A dummy’s guide to England’s presumptuous crowd chant

For the uninitiated who will hear the phrase ‘Football’s coming home’ a lot before Monday’s Euro 2020 final between England and Italy, here’s a breakdown.

What is ‘Football’s coming home’?

It’s from a Shakespeare sonnet titled England:

Bids thee leave these; and with her sovereign grace,
Here on this grass-plot, in this very place,
11 English heroes in victory they did roam,
Get thy in! Football’s coming home.

Oh that makes sense…wait, did you say Shakespeare? Did you just make that up?

Yes. It actually originates from a song called Three Lions which was released by The Lightning Seeds, David Baddiel and Frank Skinner ahead of the 1996 European Championships, which were held in England.

The song went number one on the British charts and returned to the top spot two years later during the 1998 World Cup. Watch the video and note the appearance of Sir Geoff Hurst who grabs a pint in the pub. He scored a hat-trick in the 1966 World Cup final.

Here’s Baddiel and Skinner explaining to the BBC how the song came about.

Here they are at Thursday’s semifinal win over Denmark.

Did England bring it home in 1996?

No. They lost on penalties to Germany. Current coach Gareth Southgate missed from the spot with the shootout down to sudden death. But the ‘Football’s coming home’ chant grew in popularity during the event and has been used at every World Cup and European Championship since (when they qualify)

It was again more accurate and not at all used ironically for this year’s tournament Euro 2020 (yes played in 2021). 11 different cities were used as hosts for Euro 2020 but London’s Wembley Stadium is the venue for the final after also hosting the two semifinals.

Is it coming home this year?

Yes. Wembley Stadium is hosting the European final for the first time since 1996 when the song was released. And they’ve made it all the way to the final after topping their group followed by knockout wins over Germany, Ukraine and Denmark.

Next up is Italy who previously won the 1968 European Championship after needing a coin toss victory to reach the final of the four-team competition.

The England men’s cricket team managed to secure the Cricket World Cup title after playing New Zealand in the final at the home of cricket Lord’s two years ago.

So maybe after many years of not winning major tournaments at home, England sport has changed.

Is England getting excited?

For sure. Prince Charles even got a brass band to learn the song.

What is the best meme or viral video? That’s really why I’m here.

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