Ken Early: England's 30 years of hurt are coming to an end - a magical 30 years for us

Era of English dominance may come for talented squad and the FA's accidental manager

England manager Gareth Southgate  applauds the fans after beating Ukraine in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals.  Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire

England manager Gareth Southgate applauds the fans after beating Ukraine in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire

In the space of 13 second-half minutes against Ukraine, England butted in three headers – a feat never achieved in a single match by any other team in the history of the Euros. Euro 2020 is an English tournament now, with the last three matches all at Wembley. The fearsome aerial bombardment that levelled Ukraine has fuelled a sense that Frank Skinner’s prophecy is coming true at last.

His song speaks of 30 years of hurt – strictly English hurt, of course. For those who observe England from afar, these last 30 years have been truly magical, a real trentes glorieuses. We stand with foreboding at the beginning of a week that could usher in a new and strange order of English footballing dominance. In the spirit of a song by another Frank S, about all the times it was a very good year, one closes one’s eyes and thinks back to all the happier days that led us to this moment.

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