It's no secret that when any international football (soccer) tournament begins, there's never really been a huge level of support surrounding the England national team and the 2018 FIFA World Cup was no different.
When the tournament began, and even in the months leading up to the competition; skepticism was, as usual, at it's highest among the English people, both on home soil and abroad.
England have notoriously not done well in international competitions for as long as I can remember and while I am by no means an expert in the rules of The Beautiful Game, when has that ever stopped anyone from having an opinion on something they don't fully understand?
While I have never really followed a football competition all the way through; this time, I couldn't helped but get sucked in to the hype that surrounds the World Cup. I remember researching which countries England would face during the Group stages and thinking that there was a decent opportunity for England to progress beyond the Group stage.
At no point did I ever think England would make it through to the Semi-Final!
This was the first time that I have followed my national team throughout any tournament and I can honestly say that I am so proud of the way the team played throughout the competition.
The Colombian game was quite possibly the dirtiest of the entire competition. From blatant fouls to scuffing up the penalty spot, these Colombians tried anything and everything they could possibly think of to sabotage England during the first knock out game either team faced.
Knocking out Colombia when the game went to penalties was a huge moment considering England had never won a World Cup penalty shoot-out before.
Support for this young, in-experienced England team grew with every match they won.
The saying goes, "rugby is a thug's game played by gentlemen and football is a gentleman's game played by thugs". This is inconsistent to the way England performed during the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The integrity that this young England team played with throughout the tournament was outstanding. When frustrations were tested and anger could have so easily have been justified, these young players kept their heads and for that I am so proud.
I have developed a genuine love of football because of this team.
For the first time in my lifetime, England made it through to the Semi-Finals of a World Cup and while the team may not be bringing back the trophy, they did reunite a country with its national sport.
They did bring football home.
To a team worth supporting.
To a team that made us believe this time was different.
To a team who made us un-afraid to dream.
To a team that knows this is only the beginning.
Thank you. You made us proud.