England made history last night. And, for the first time since 1966, it was the right kind.
After 55 exhausting years without a knockout tie victory against Germany, the Three Lions finally found a way to defeat their old rivals at a major tournament – triumphing 2-0 to advance to the quarter-finals of Euro 2020.
If that didn’t already taste sweet enough, consider the fact that it was two Manchester representatives that got them on their way. One Red. One Blue.
Manchester United’s Luke Shaw sublimely picked out Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling in the 75th minute – with the latter slotting home his third goal in four games to send Wembley into utter pandemonium.
Germany’s Thomas Muller had the audacity to power through on goal with 10 minutes to go, but when the striker uncharacteristically fired the ball wide with just Jordan Pickford to beat, it felt like it might be England’s day.
Six minutes later, we knew it was.
Harry Kane – whose run without a goal had become so notorious that even Boris Johnson became aware of it – finally broke his duck for Euro 2020 by heading home Jack Grealish’s cross and made it 2-0.
Game, set, match.
The second goal apparently made Gareth Southgate “very happy”, according to the tranquil manager’s post-match interview. For the 40,000 fans at Wembley, the response bordered on insanity.
Not only was the victory England’s first knockout win against Germany for over half a century, it was also just their second triumph ever in a Euros knockout game.
No wonder, then, why the nation temporarily lost its mind.
Indeed, whilst Wembley was wobbling, the scenes of delirium radiated 200 miles north into the city of Manchester.
Celebrations came in all forms. Whoops from windows. Full pints tossed into the air. Drivers slapping their sweaty palms on steering wheels (for once, the cars on roads near Ashton Canal were doing more honking than the geese).
Some of this joyful footage was uploaded to social media in the wake of the win. And we’ve picked out some of the top posts.
Watch them below. Then, watch them again. And watch them one more time. Before you know it, it’ll be Saturday. And this Euros tournament is about as uncertain as local tier COVID rules in 2020. Anything can happen.
This is the moment to savour a victory that we all bloody needed.
Is it coming home?
Featured image: Euro 2020
Man United striker Rasmus Højlund set to miss Manchester derby as muscle injury rules him out for ‘two to three weeks’
Man United have suffered a pretty big short-term blow as their in-form forward Rasmus Højlund has been diagnosed with a muscle injury which is set to see him out for “two to three weeks”, meaning he will likely miss the upcoming Manchester derby.
The Danish striker has been running red-hot of late, scoring seven in his last six league games for Man United and now sitting as the club’s top marksman with 13 goals and two assists across all competitions, but just as Erik ten Hag’s side look to have got going, they will now be without him for a spell.
Issuing an update on Friday, 23 February, United confirmed that a muscle injury is “expected to rule him out for two to three weeks”, meaning he will miss this weekend’s fixture against Fulham, the FA Cup fifth round against Nottingham Forest and most likely the Manchester derby.
The Red Devils are currently unbeaten in 2024 and on a run of six wins out of their last seven, with Højlund making the difference in many of them.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s game at Old Trafford, ten Hag went on to explain: “It is a small injury. That is what happens and the risk [when you are] playing at high intensity and training.”
The Dutchman reiterated, “As I say it is not a big injury, but he has to wait for one, two, three weeks”, though Reds will nevertheless be gutted to see the 21-year-old sidelined after having now started finding the net and putting together such an impressive run of performances.
While he emphasised that it is not a “big injury”, the timing couldn’t be more frustrating for a team that looks to be finally gathering some momentum, not only in and around the European places already but right on the trail of those chasing down the Champions League spots.
Højlund’s injury only adds to the club’s ever-growing list of players on the physio’s bench, including Tyrell Malacia, Mason Mount, Lisandro Martinez and another huge setback in Luke Shaw’s long-term hamstring problems.
In contrast, Manchester City have been lofted by comebacks from both Erling Haaland, who is getting back on the scoresheet once again, and midfielder maestro Kevin De Bruyne as they look to step up the pressure on league leaders Liverpool.
The treble-winners were always going to be putting in a very strong title defence but the return of KDB has reminded football fans just exactly how good he is. The Belgian was left on the bench against Brentford due to “minor niggles” but you can fully expect him to be raring to go come derby day.
Stockport County create a new community mural with young street artists in Edgeley
Stockport County is creating a brand new mural with a group of young street artists from the local area and a little help from one of their squad members.
This past February half-term, the Greater Manchester football club enlisted the help of some schoolkids and aspiring artists, along with local creatives from around the area to create a brand new piece of artwork right in the heart of the community.
With some paint, plenty of spray cans and the expertise of Manc muralist and designer, Oskar With A K, and poet Ruth Awolola, a dozen local secondary school pupils helped write, design and paint the mural — taking inspiration directly from the club and the thriving fan culture in Stockport.
There is no chant more iconic and important to the Hatters than their famous ‘The Scarf My Father Worse’ song and that’s exactly what the local artists have decided to immortalise.
The painting process began on Friday, 16 February and, as you can see, they even managed to rope in County defender Ethan Pye came along to lend a hand with the mural, armed with a can of spray paint to help the young people bring their ideas to life.
Being developed by the Stockport County Community Trust in collaboration with North West organisations, GRIT Studios and The Writing Squad, ‘The Scarf My Father Wore’ project has received £14,800 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Popping in a prime location on the corner of Castle Street and Mercian Way — just metres away from the Edgeley Park stadium and right at the beginning of the local village high street — this vibrant work of art will be passed by thousands of commuters and pedestrians every day.
Being brought to life in brilliant blue and white in line with the club’s colour scheme and proudly printing the title of the famous chant on the wall along with stencils of the County crest, footballs and many other details, it sits pride of place in the Stockport suburb.
Much like the historic chant and the symbolic scarf itself, this brilliant piece of street art will be passed down and enjoyed by generations to come, as well as make sure the club continues to play a key role in local culture.
County’s Community Trust CEO Alison Warwood said: “This project shows how art and writing by young people can make a real difference to the local community, and I can’t wait to see the end result.”
John Macaulay from GRIT Studios added: “We’re thrilled to be involved in such a collaborative and community-spirited initiative. Our young artists will be helping to create a lasting landmark that will become a focal point in Edgeley for years to come.”
With the Hatters currently top of the League Two table and looking at yet another promotion season, there feels like no better time for fans to wear the club on their sleeve, their scarves around their necks and now up on the wall too.