A likeable England is a strange and unsettling notion for many supporters, reports Back of the Net...
England stormed into the quarter-finals of the Women's World Cup with victory over Norway, a result that left fans overjoyed, confused and questioning the very fundamentals of supporting England. Lucy Bronze's long-range strike capped a fightback that saw nobody booked for petulant fouls, dive to win a penalty or derail attack after attack through a mixture of selfishness and panic. Spectators described the display as "fearless", "uplifting" and "unlike any England team in living memory".
"As a long-time England fan, it's clear to me that all international footballers are boorish cry babies who only care about money," said fan Wayne Norris, 44. "So when they're examples of dedication, teamwork and the triumph of the underdog spirit, I get confused and upset."
Fans greeted Steph Houghton's 61st-minute equaliser with plaintive chants of "England? England?", before Bronze's winner sent them into raptures of confusion and self-doubt.
Club England member Ben Davey said: "An England team coming from behind to grind out a tough but well-deserved win is so alien a concept it makes me question why I'm watching football in the first place.
"If they'd bundled one in from a set-piece after being outpassed for 90 minutes, I'd be on surer ground. But it's like I'm in a strange parallel universe where anything is possible and everything I know to be true is wrong. I genuinely admire Houghton, even though she's England captain. How weird is that?"
Davey added that the squad's successes notwithstanding, their lack of cynicism, fear and entitlement means he could never truly consider them elite footballers.