We watched the footy at Fuad's last night, after an excellent post-Raya nosh-up, with much hustle & bustle from Fahmi & the boys to add to the collective excitement. I predicted England would be two up by halftime, sort of jokingly, and was stunned when it turned out to be a lot more than that. I'm still in recovery from finding myself enjoying an England game in the World Cup in totally relaxed fashion. Can't remember the last time this happened. Possibly at some point in Italia '90? Doubt it, though. Offhand have no recall of a single easy game back then.
The odd thing was that they managed to look very vulnerable at the back in the opening ten minutes, but still appeared assured somehow that it would be alright on the night. England have the look of a newly promoted club team who are still enjoying the game, despite the possibility of eventually being shot down by one of the big clubs. It's as if they see themselves as no-hopers with a chance to shine, though having considerable faith in their innate ability.
I reckon the key factor is the lack of big name players with medals to prove it. There's no one to live up to anymore.