England keep the faith and Jude Bellingham conjures a late miracle | Jonathan Liew

With fans leaving the stadium and England 20 points behind in the polls, the Real Madrid star stepped in

I keep thinking about the guys who left early. You could see them sliding out of their seats, shuffling down the concourses, tutting and harrumphing all the way to the deserted tram terminus. Thinking uncharitable thoughts about Gareth Southgate, Gelsenkirchen, life in general. Looking forward to a smooth return journey and a glass of one of the Ruhr region’s frothier brews. And then, suddenly, hearing a noise over their shoulders, and realising with a deathly chill that they screwed up.

And before we all point and laugh, how many England fans – here, at home, out, wherever – were mentally taking their first step on the same journey of dissociation and detachment? How many of us, at some point during that game, spiritually checked out of the England football team as an entity? If sticking with a team is essentially an act of pure faith, yoking your time and happiness to forces beyond control or understanding, then on what basis, as the ball sails out of play for an England throw in the 94th minute, could that faith be remotely justified?

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