A young, unheralded bunch of players have gone further than those before who were more obviously talented but in the end England fell short against a superior side
Leave the flags out. Have another glass. Take another look, if you can, at those moments from Kaliningrad to Moscow when this capable England team played above itself and turned a drowsy, toxic summer back home into something else.
Let’s not have any anguish this time. England’s four and a half weeks at the World Cup deserves a little better, even after a 2-1 defeat by Croatia in Moscow that was decided deep into extra time.