England crashes out of World Cup, and it's not coming home

Instead of Blighty, football's going to wander over to Paris or Zagreb.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

England had such high hopes. The Three Lions football anthem was everywhere on social media, as fans dreamed of their country's first World Cup championship since 1966, tweaking the song's lyric "it's coming home" into countless memes.

And then, on Wednesday, Croatia came from behind to beat England 2-1 in extra time. Croatia is now headed to its first-ever World Cup final against France on Sunday. It might be coming home, but only if football's home is Paris or Zagreb.

For Croatia, it was a Cinderella story. One tweet from ITV Sports shared a quote from Croatia captain Luka Modric, who said, "English journalists, pundits from television, they underestimated Croatia tonight and that was a huge mistake. All these words from them we take, we were reading and we were saying 'ok, today we will see who will be tired.'" 

Before things went wrong, England fans had fun with an early goal that made them spill a whole lot of beer all over Hyde Park.

But after the game, the "it's coming home" memes took a sad, depressing turn. 

"Never was, never will," wrote one Twitter user. 

Wrote another, "Football has grown as a person. Football is happy visiting new places and meeting new people. Please stop insisting.#ItsNotComingHome"

Even the official Twitter account of Australia's Queensland Police Service couldn't resist mangling the now-sad meme, writing, "The tears of England fans have led to tricky driving conditions this morning. It's not coming home so drive safely so you can."

But English fans still stuck around the Moscow stadium long after the loss, serenading their team's manager, Gareth Southgate. Wrote one fan, "I'm sat here watching 1000s of England fans applauding the squad and singing 'Don't Look Back In Anger' with all they have. Thankfully we are looking forward with hope. Gareth Southgate and his team have helped many fall back in love with the beautiful game. Onwards & upwards."

Croatia takes on France for the World Cup on Sunday in Moscow, while England and host country Russia play Saturday for third place. Maybe football will think about coming home in 2022.