All eyes glued to show: Southgate’s shared agonies have felt vivid and real

Yes England have played poorly, but talk of a return to the chronic unravellings of the years-of-hurt era is premature

Say what you like about England’s performances in Germany, nearly five hours of football that have felt like something to be endured grimly, sport reimagined as a kind of punishment beating. Say what you like about England’s performances in Germany, which have, at times, reproduced the physical sensation of being stabbed through the eyeballs with a kebab skewer made entirely from boredom. Say what you like, say what you like. But England haven’t been dull.

Actually, this isn’t true. England have also been dull. A man from Surrey has had to deny falling asleep during the second half against Slovenia – a huge boost, no doubt, for Gareth’s brave lions – after being pictured resting his eyes at the Cologne Stadium. One daily newspaper has launched a campaign urging people to just, you know, like the England football team a bit more, like a kindly class teacher encouraging a shy child to join in at playtime.

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