Let’s face it, England reaching the second stage of the World Cup, never mind the quarter finals, was thought a mission impossible.
However now the Lions are heading for a quarter final match against Sweden and are being tipped to win! The possibilities are now endless after Harry Kane’s men beat Colombia in a penalty shoot out.
England winning a penalty shoot out – I know! I can barely believe what I’m writing.
Probably the one person who looks upon an England team making its way to the finals with pure dread is British Prime Minister Theresa May. It’s a real dilemma because relations with Russia are at an all time low and the PM will certainly be most reluctant to head to Moscow for the final.
Prince William might have to be mobilised too – the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry indicated back in March they would not be heading to Russia. At least one of the royal duo has cheered England on at matches in the last three World Cups in Brazil, South Africa and Germany.
The Duke’s attendance at this year’s tournament became a none issue after former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were targeted by what a nerve agent thought to have been developed by Russia.
As president of the FA, English football’s governing body, the Duke would normally go and support the national team in person but the nerve agent drama put an end to that. Relations have been decidedly frosty with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
And it wasn’t an issue, until now. No one believed the England team would get this far but manager Gareth Southgate has defied the critics and the football experts. Suddenly everyone is singing: “It’s coming home.”
So what will Theresa May do if England gets in to the final. I can exclusively reveal it has already been discussed in Downing Street.
While I can’t name my sources, the subject did crop up over the weekend when I found myself in the company of two senior Tories at an exclusive party in north London. Unlikely as, say England winning the World Cup, there I was at a very posh bash surrounded by Brexiteers.
With two senior members of the British Government on my left and right I scrambled to think of a non-contentious subject we could discuss without me wanting to skewer anyone with a cocktail stick. Football being a great unifier was the obvious choice and so we discussed the possibilities of England’s world cup journey progressing beyond the next game.
I then asked what would the PM do if England got into the final. It would, I said, be inconceivable if she stayed at home but equally inconceivable if he went along and had to sit in the same VIP box as Putin.
I was told by the man on my right that it had already been up for “discusion in cabinet!” The senior Tory MP on my right sneered and said: “Let’s face it, it’s not a dilemma we’re going to have to face, is it?”
Gareth Southgate’s magnificent Lions could plunge May and her cabinet into yet another political crisis. Should she stay or should she go? And if she does end up booking a seat to Moscow will she be taking Wills and Harry along too? Suddenly Brexit seems more like a walk in the park!
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