For decades to come, people will recall the long hot summer of 2018, when a young male England football team reached the dizzying heights of the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 28 years. The country was football mad and the chant of ‘It’s coming home’ grew louder and louder with every game they won.
Social media and news outlets were awash with optimistic content, which resulted in some hilarious ‘dubbing’ videos and excellent memes. We investigate just how much social media impacted the players and the fans. Even if you are not the biggest fan of England or football in general, no doubt you were still feeling the football fever. On social media, everyone was getting involved from kids to celebs to animals.
Well the U1’s have made it to the semi finals of the Baby World Cup. I’m so proud of their achievements so far and if the plan comes together tonight #itscominghome @England @FIFAWorldCup @ITV #threelions #WaistcoatWednesday #ENGCOR #WorldCupRussia2018 pic.twitter.com/tD1tBlfKJn
— Little Long (@Littlelongc) July 11, 2018
Years of footballing underachievement meant England fans were not overly excited about this year’s World Cup. However, the games were off to an excellent start for social media, with Robbie Williams showing his middle finger to the cameras during the opening ceremony, reflecting the young team’s ‘nothing-to-lose’ attitude to the tournament.
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) June 14, 2018
United support and hopefulness grew into a frenzy when England defeated Colombia after a nail-biting penalty shoot-out. From that moment on, England fans would not stop singing Three Lions at every given opportunity. Creative videos and memes became so widespread that the England team itself was joining in, with Jesse Lingard sharing a photo of him on the pitch after the win, phone to his ear, with the caption: “No mum, I’m not coming home. It’s…”.
No mum, I’m not coming home. It’s… pic.twitter.com/VdFHVoEfTI
— Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) July 3, 2018
This support renewed fan’s love for the team and in particular their manager, who also got a lot of media attention during the World Cup, with his signature waistcoat style (M&S living the marketer’s dream on that one). Even those who have never cared for the game before were joining in with the atmosphere created both online and offline. Some might even say this World Cup’s social media involvement has made the World Cup fun again.
When you can’t get “it’s coming home” theme tune out your head pic.twitter.com/RisR1wPL31
— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) July 7, 2018
— T.C (@TackyModernism1) July 3, 2018
— This Morning (@thismorning) July 11, 2018
The collective pride and enjoyment are greatly beneficial in working towards a closer community. The enjoyment that social media added lifted everyone’s spirits, both at home and in Russia, to the point of maximum optimism and confidence. Even if it was sometimes tongue-in-cheek, there was a growing belief that it might, just, maybe come home.
It's coming home… pic.twitter.com/Qxg8g0HvLe
— British Airways (@British_Airways) July 7, 2018
— Anna Kennedy OBE (@AnnaKennedy1) July 7, 2018
Even after the semi-finals ended, social media, as harsh as it can be sometimes, was quick to reassure the England team that they played excellently and done their country proud to have gotten to the semi-finals. Also pointing out that: “We said it was coming home but we didn’t say when! 2022 World Cup, bring it on!!”. This surprising optimism even after defeat is what social media is capable of.
— Ross Kemp (@RossKemp) July 14, 2018
It was social media presence in this year’s World Cup that really brought people together and brought an inclusive feel to support our national team, let’s hope this spirit continues into the next World Cup in 2022.
Next stop – Gareth Southgate! To celebrate the achievements of the @england men's football team this summer, TfL & @VisaUK have temporarily renamed Southgate station on the @piccadillyline. Why not come down and post a #SouthgateSelfie pic.twitter.com/n8tR70qitd
— Transport for London (@TfL) July 16, 2018