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Euro's 2020 Final Day: My story as an England fan

Updated: Jul 13, 2021

My personal story is definitely interesting. I am half English and half Portuguese. I lived in England until I was 12 and then I moved to Qatar. I’ve grown up between Qatar and France and it’s all I’ve known until I came to university in England. When I was in England, I moved around a lot anyway.

It’s 11am as I’ve started writing this on the day of the final and it’s safe to say I’m excited, but the nerves have kicked in. I have two job interviews today, but they aren’t what’s making my stomach flip. I can imagine the celebrations tonight and they would be amazing, but I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

I’ve been solely an England fan for as long as I remember. I’ve adopted France as my second national team, but I technically have 4 to pick from if I ever needed it. My order of supporting probably goes something like this: England > France > Qatar > Portugal. It’s nothing against Portugal but I just don’t have as many memories with them like the other countries on that list. When Portugal played France, I closed my eyes and I hoped for a draw.

I remember Portugal’s Euros win in 2016. I was in France, and my grandparents and I were watching it together. I remember my granny getting mad at Ronaldo who took his time getting off the pitch due to his injury. They were in their bed, and I was sat on the floor in front of the bed, glued to the TV. My granny kept telling me to step back because I was getting too close.

The 2016 Final against France was a confusing one for me. I was 12 and didn’t have an allegiance but my family has been visiting France since I was 4/5 so it is my second home. My grandparents retired there, and I’ve gone nearly every summer but, because of Covid, I haven’t been back since 2019.

I was in France in 2018 when they won the World Cup. My family live in a small village, in a valley, in France that has one shop, two cafes, one pizzeria, one park and one bar-tabac. My best friend was visiting us from Sweden, and she came with me to the local bar-tabac on the night of the final. A bar-tabac in the village is basically a pub; they serve alcohol, coffee, and food. I can’t imagine how Covid would’ve affected it then. We all counted down the seconds until the whistle was blown and then the entire valley erupted.

Everyone in the tabac jumped, sang and lots of hugging took place. My granny was going to pick us up right after the game, but we stayed and celebrated, and she came for us about 9pm. France didn’t sleep that night and I can’t imagine it’ll be any different if England (or Italy) manage to do it.

When England were knocked out of the World Cup in 2018, I was visiting my Portuguese family and I remember crying. I was so invested but lucky as I got to support France as well. I was so happy they had gotten to the Semi-Final, but Croatia won that game.

Today, a final awaits. My dad is 50 and hasn’t seen the England team in a final in his lifetime. I remember some talk of Hope Powell leading the Lionesses to the European Championship finals in 2009, but they were ultimately defeated by Germany. However, I was too young to remember it and my dad didn’t follow women’s football. It was mentioned in school, but I found it out later when I discovered my love of the women’s game.

My English granddad was 18 at the time of the last major tournament win and my granny was 16. My granddad got me my first ever writing gig and safe to say, that changed my life and has lead me to do some amazing things.

My granny was working that afternoon in 1966, but asked another girl to cover her shift and told her that she was going to a wedding because she wasn’t sure she would swap with her if she said it was for the football game. My granddad wasn’t working but watched it with his parents. They had bought a new television for the occasion.

My mum is not interested in football, but she would take me to pretty much every game I played or went to in Qatar. My first England shirt was at 16 and it was the Lionesses’ away shirt. I got Kaz Carney’s number on the back because Carney, Alex Scott, Kelly Smith and so many other wonderful women’s players have been my idols. She announced she was retiring about a week after I got the shirt, and I was devastated to say the least.

This time around, my parents and sister are in Qatar and I’m in England. It’s the first major tournament ever, that I’ve watched all the games without my dad. We call the next day and talk about the games the night before but it hasn’t been the same. I went out a few times and was out with a friend to watch the Germany game. I think I’d either prefer being there or watching it at home as I enjoy the commentary.

England will go crazy tonight and the nerves are kicking in. Less than 4 hours to go until the game and if it comes home, I’ll be celebrating it just as much as everyone else.

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