Kosovo fans' incredible England welcome reminded us why we love football so much

Kosovo v England - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier

England rounded out a brilliant Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 4-0 win over Kosovo on Sunday evening.

Goals from Hary Winks, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount ensured the Three Lions would end the campaign with just one defeat, topping Group A by six points.

While they may have cruised to the top of the group, England certainly endured a few difficult moments on their journey to next year's finals.

Their trip to Bulgaria was a particularly tumultuous affair as the home fans shockingly fired a relentless volley of racial abuse at the England players.

It was one of the most awful footballing nights in recent memory and Gareth Southgate's men were rightly shaken up by events in Sofia.

It highlighted the growing storm of racism that is sadly beginning to engulfing the game we love. 

Their trip to Kosovo proved to be an entirely different kettle of fish though, as they received one of the warmest welcomes you could ever hope to receive in Pristina.

The home faithful had long since decided that they would do their best to express their gratitude for the part Britain played in the NATO intervention in the Balkan conflict two decades ago.

Kosovo v England - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier

A week before the game, banners were seen in the city centre welcoming the England players and denouncing racism.

However, it only got better as the fans made their way into the stadium for possibly the biggest game the country has ever hosted.

When the teams were announced, the stadium announcer playfully left the surnames of the England men to be shouted out by the fans and they belted them out with incredible gusto.

As 'God save the Queen' rang out, each and every Kosovan fan held up a St Georges cross and tried to sing along to the anthem.

It was an incredible show of love and support from the small nation as they showed everyone around the world what it means to be a true fan of the beautiful game.

It was a wonderfully welcome break from all of the bad news surrounding fan behaviour of late and the faithful in Pristina deserve a lot of praise.

England will go into the tournament next summer as one of the favourites and will be desperate to end the nation's painful wait for another international title.

If they can make it all the way to the final, they will not only have England fan roaring them on but every fan in Kosovo, too.

Surely it's coming home this time?

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