England kick-off their Euro 2020 campaign with a tough opening fixture against 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia on Sunday.
It was Croatia who denied Gareth Southgate’s side a place in their first World Cup final since 1966 three years ago.
Kieran Tripper made England fans believe football was finally coming home after smashing in a fifth-minute free-kick at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, but Ivan Perisic’s equaliser midway through the second half sent the game to extra-time.
Mario Mandzukic then broke English hearts by scoring Croatia’s winner in the 109th minute.
Southgate and his players still received widespread praise from fans for reaching a semi-final – the first time this had happened since Euro 1996 – but it felt like a huge missed opportunity.
Roy Keane and Ian Wright’s heated clash
Croatia had a good group of players, of course, but this wasn’t a Brazil, Germany or Spain. England, who have since beaten the same opponents in the UEFA Nations League, probably should have reached the final in Russia.
In the aftermath of the match, Roy Keane – just who England fans wanted to see on their TV screens after suffering yet more major tournament heartache! – got into a heated clash with fellow ITV pundit Ian Wright.
“I made the point a few weeks ago, I know a bit tongue-in-cheek but you have to focus on one game and football’s coming home,” Keane said.
“I didn’t mind you being happy but you got carried away, planning the final and the parades. And I was right. You needed a reality check.”
Wright fired back: “We wasn’t talking about the final, we were just having a laugh with you. We were happy! Why can’t we get excited?”
Wright then mocked Keane’s pronunciation of the word ‘final’, to which the irritated Irishman replied: “You know what I’m talking about. Watch yourself.”
The Manchester United legend added: “Get excited when they get to the final! It was the semi-final, group matches. Take it one game as it comes.
“It is ridiculous, you are a grown man, you have played this game. You know how hard it is to get to these finals or even get to the World Cup. Relax yourself.”
Watch the clip here…
The incident was actually revised by TV watchdog Ofcom, per The Mirror, following viewer complaints.
However, Wright – who mocked Keane’s accent – was cleared of any wrongdoing.
“We carefully assessed complaints from viewers who objected to one pundit imitating another’s accent,” Ofcom said in a statement.
“However, we found the exchange was intended in good humour.”
Will we be similar clashes between pundits on our TV screens this summer?
Euro 2020 predictions (The Football Terrace)