England: did they lose because a man failed to kick a ball into a goal?

DID England lose against France because a striker failed to score a penalty, or for some other reason? We investigate: 

Failings in the national character

Was England’s loss because we, as a nation, are predisposed toward losing? Because since we gave up our empire we’ve become afraid to win and ashamed of our achievements? Is it all, ultimately, the fault of anyone who opposed Brexit?

Likelihood: 58 per cent

Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary

How could our team represent their country while knowing it was being eviscerated on streaming services? How could any Englishman’s guts not be churning at Meghan’s mocking curtsey? How could Harry Kane score when he shares a name with a traitor?

Likelihood: 66 per cent

Being on ITV

There’s never anything good on ITV on Saturday nights, and England-France was no exception. Pressured to be as disappointing as The Jonathan Ross Show followed by highlights from the Championship, the team scaled down their performance accordingly.

Likelihood: 79 per cent

Being too woke

Taking the knee before every match? Being provocatively multi-racial? There’s none woker than the England team, and their pathetic obeisance to the liberal media meant they were afraid to erase France’s lived experience by winning. Pathetic.

Likelihood: 88 per cent

Not being woke enough

Harry Kane, as England captain, bravely planned to wear a non-specific rainbow OneLove armband before capitulating to FIFA at the first hint of a threat of repercussions. Did his own cowardice haunt him at the penalty spot and cause him to deliberately miss?

Likelihood: 93 per cent

Gareth Southgate setting a bad example

‘I missed a penalty,’ a mocking voice whispered in the ear of an England hero as he stepped up to the spot, ‘and I’m fine. I did a Pizza Hut advert and now I’m my country’s manager! Miss it, Harry! Think of your long-term career and miss it! For me!’

Likelihood: 97 per cent

The man not kicking the ball into the goal

Nothing to do with it. Frankly it’s childish to believe such a simplistic interpretation of events.

Likelihood: 0 per cent

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A historian's guide to hating the French

NEED to stir up some resentment for the opposition ahead of tonight’s match? Historian Denys Finch Hatton explains the reasons to hate England’s longtime enemy.


The foundation of centuries’ worth of bitter hatred. Due to some balls-up with the English throne that’s too complicated to get into, the country ended up getting invaded by William the Conqueror who only won because our army had recently been battered by Norway. After losing at the Battle of Hastings we inherited loads of shit French words, like archer. Which is ironic, given…


Part of the Hundred Years’ War, a conflict so massive it makes all others look like chodes in comparison. This was another dispute over a throne, only this time England’s diminished forces struck a killer blow in the form of some f**k off big bows and arrows at the Battle of Agincourt. It’s probably also where our underdog and punch-above-our-weight mentality comes from, even though it only really worked on this one occasion.

All that Napoleonic shit

France seems like a pretty chill place, right? Nice bread, sexy people, admirably lazy workforce. You almost wouldn’t believe it nearly ruled the whole continent because that uptight little guy from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure got carried away. Luckily England put the frogs in their place at the Battle of Trafalgar. Quite how France remains an important player after this defeat still eludes and enrages us. It’s not fair.

World War Two

No, England still hasn’t forgiven France for surrendering to the Nazis. If they’re willing to lie down beneath the German jackboot, what other despicable acts could they be capable of? It’s obviously crass and stupid to think like this, but if the French team get one past Jordan Pickford expect drunken supporters to shout about it.

Euro 2004

Arguably the most egregious example on this list. England had secured an early lead courtesy of Frank Lampard and looked set to cruise to an easy win. Imagine the shock, anger and disgust as Zinedine Zidane promptly put two away in extra time. Yes, England still sailed through to the quarter-finals because Croatia and Switzerland were shit, but that’s not the point. Our pride had been hurt, and it’s time to take revenge.