A Year Ago Today, The 2018 World Cup Kicked Off And Life Has Never Been The Same

When the tournament began with hosts Russia thumping Saudi Arabia 5-0 it was obvious we were in for a special summer.

From Iran players attempting roly-polys before throw-ins to wonder goals from right-backs, it was a tournament full of incident and drama.

But for England fans, the Russia World Cup will always have a special place in their hearts for one reason.

It was the summer we all thought football was coming home.

The Three Lions qualified from their group in second place following a 2-1 victory over Tunisia, a 6-1 thumping of Panama and then losing 1-0 to group winners Belgium.

England were then drawn against Colombia in the Last 16 and this is where the story really began.

After a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes followed by a goalless extra time, it fell to penalties.

Penalties and England haven't exactly mixed well over the years and millions leapt behind the sofa with thoughts of 'not again' swirling around in their head.

Despite Jordan Henderson's miss, Jordan Pickford saved from Carlos Bacca and Eric Dier stepped up to give England a victory in a penalty shootout for the first time since 1996.

This game birthed the Harry Maguire meme, highlighted Gareth Southgate's waistcoat and sent the 'It's coming home' movement into hyperdrive.

Anywhere in England, 'Three Lions' echoed in anticipation for the Sweden game.

The game itself was a rather drab affair, with England winning 2-0 thanks to the now national treasure Harry Maguire and Dele Alli.

It was semi-final time, Croatia were the only team separating England from their first World Cup Final in over 50 years.

And within the first two minutes, Kieran Trippier nestled a beautiful free-kick into the Croatia net to give us all a whiff of the World Cup Final.

Despite this, England couldn't hold on and Croatia ran out 2-1 winners in extra-time.

In spite of the pain we all felt when the final whistle blew on July 11, the team had done us proud.

England came fourth at the World Cup following another defeat to Belgium in the third-place playoff.

The renewed love for the national team has continued into 2019, with Southgate's men coming third in the Nations League.

Although we didn't walk out as World Cup winners, we will all remember Russia 2018 as the summer we all fell in love with England again.

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