England's Route To Bringing It Home Made Sweeter By Spain's Loss
Just a few days ago there was many people worrying that England's loss against Belgium had landed them in trouble in the second round of the World Cup. Suddenly though the future is looking bright.
Belgium were top seeds in Group G and always expected to finish as the best team in it so it was a relief that England went into the game against their fellow Europeans knowing the result didn't matter to their qualification into the knockout stages.
That's not something the Three Lions have been used to in recent times so it was nice for once they hadn't messed up in their first two games against Tunisia and Panama.
Adnan Januzaj's curling effort in the second half, after a pretty drab first 45 minutes, meant that Roberto Martinez' did indeed top the group, meaning they face Japan in the next round.
There is no doubt that the Far East Asians are the easier draw in the second round, with England having to play Colombia after their loss, but finishing second might actually do Southgate's men a favour.
Should England beat Colombia, and there's no reason to believe they couldn't, then they would face Switzerland or Sweden in the quarter finals, a much more preferable possibility than Mexico or Brazil.
However the big change now comes after hosts Russia's surprise win against Spain in the second round game on Sunday afternoon.
The Spanish were one of the favourites for the tournament before it got underway, even after sacking their manager on the eve of the opening game, but lost on penalties to the hosts.
That result means that should England reach the semi-final they would now face one of Croatia, Denmark or the hosts, massively preferable to France or Uruguay on the other side.
Before Thursday plenty of people were hoping England would finish second and that was with Japan topping their group and Senegal second in Group H.
If Japan or Senegal had finished top then the draw would have been even easier but Colombia are beatable and there's no guarantee England would have beaten Japan, admittedly a slight contradiction on the first half of this sentence.
I do think Colombia, Switzerland, Croatia looks a better run than Japan, Brazil, France because even if they've not quite hit top gear yet Neymar and co are better than Shaqiri and co.
Of course the flip side of all this is that England haven't won a knockout game in the World Cup since 2002 so maybe we shouldn't be looking past Colombia just yet...
Nah screw that It's Coming Home!