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