The World Cup is just over three months away, with England’s opening group game against Tunisia due to take place on 18 June.
We’ve passed the first wave of pessimism, and we’re gearing up to the point where we’re thinking maybe, just maybe, we could win the thing.
Harry Kane’s one of the best strikers in the world, Raheem Sterling has got into his groove under Pep Guardiola at club level, and even the official kit looks tidy.
So when people heard Boris Johnson was threatening to pull us out of the tournament it all felt rather ‘typical England’, even if the truth ended up being slightly different.
It all relates to the very murky incident in which a Russian spy was allegedly poisoned in Salisbury this week, a decade after Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko died from exposure to polonium at a London restaurant - though Russia denies involvement.
Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yuliya are currently in critical condition in hospital, and Johnson suggested that if it emerged that Russia was connected to the incident, “It will be difficult to see how UK representation at the World Cup (in Russia) can go ahead.”
Thankfully, despite early fears, Johnson doesn’t actually have the power to interfere with the FA’s plans, and he has since clarified that he didn’t mean he wanted to withdraw the actual football team.
Johnson’s team was forced to clarify he was referring to dignitaries representing the UK, rather than the actual players themselves.
Which led to some pretty accurate summations of exactly what sort of impact that would have on the rest of the world.
hahaha. Can the tournament even go ahead without formal biscuit-based gladhanding from THE Football Association?— Tom Peck (@tompeck) March 6, 2018
So fear not, we’re on our way to do our usual thing of being the worst team to watch, scraping into the knockout stages and then going out to the first semi-decent team we play.
The opening game of the World Cup, between host nation Russia and lowest-ranked side Saudi Arabia, will take place in Moscow on 14 June.