The cries of ‘it’s coming home’ are becoming less and less ironic.
England pulled off a remarkable late comeback to beat Croatia at Wembley on Sunday and book their place in the finals of the UEFA Nations League.
Gareth Southgate watched his men trail the 2018 World Cup finalists from shortly before the hour mark until 12 minutes from time when Jesse Lingard restored parity.
The Manchester United midfielder tapped in from virtually on the goal-line to cancel out Andrej Kramaric’s opener, enabling Harry Kane to guide Ben Chilwell’s free-kick into the net and send the Three Lions to Portugal next June.
Much to the delight of the England boss, it was an impressive turnaround against an experienced, high-quality Zlatko Dalic outfit.
"I think the most pleasing thing of the year has been the connection with the fans and being able to share brilliant experiences with them,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
"Today was brilliant - I can't remember the new Wembley like that. We have exciting players that give them excitement.
"We were by far the better team in the first half and we came back from a soft goal. If you're going to win a game that's the way you want to win.
"We were playing against a very, very good side. To keep the ball, use the ball and create chances was very pleasing. And you have to keep calm - when you think the chances have gone then you have to keep believing.”
With both managers selecting teams close to their strongest, fans were always likely to be treated to some fascinating individual battles on the park.
However, one such encounter many wouldn’t have expected to occur - Marcus Rashford and Luka Modric - produced a particularly memorable moment.
RASHFORD V MODRIC
In this instance, the Red Devils speedster found himself running at his Real Madrid counterpart through the middle of the pitch.
There could only ever be one winner in such a situation - and that’s exactly how it panned out.
With the ball at his feet, Rashford feinted this way and that as he approached Modric, throwing him off balance enough to skip past with a clever two-touch movement.
Tacking isn’t the 2018 Ballon d’Or favourite’s strong suit by any means, but it’s definitely still worth a watch…
Irrespective of whether the same skill would’ve succeeded against a more defensive-minded opponent, England fans loved watching Rashford get the better of Modric.
The draw for the Nations League finals will take place in Dublin on Monday 3 December.News Now - Sport News