Fan View: Positive coronavirus test ruins England's homecoming

Matthew Storey
LiveScore
14/06/202112:34
Raheem Sterling celebrates England's winner against Croatia
Raheem Sterling celebrates England's winner against Croatia

LiveScore's Matthew Storey has tickets to all of England's Euro 2020 games and will be offering a fan's view throughout the tournament. Unfortunately, a positive coronavirus test ruined the Three Lions' opening game against Croatia.

For the past month, I had been telling anyone I could about my England tickets.

Yes, despite the 25% capacity, I would be at all three Euro 2020 group games.

This was my reward, I’d remind them, for going to the majority of England qualifiers and friendlies over the past four years.

Days like yesterday are what make dull Thursday nights at Wembley worth it. They’re the reason you find a way to get to Bulgaria on a Monday night. 

You build up loyalty points so that when a tournament comes around, you know you’ll be there.

Except I wasn’t at Wembley to see Raheem Sterling put us 1-0 up yesterday. 

I didn’t get to walk down Wembley Way and soak up the atmosphere of England’s first home tournament game in 25 years.

England fans watch on as the Three Lions take on Croatia
England fans watch on as the Three Lions take on Croatia

Seat 25, row 19, block 112 was empty for the entire 90 minutes in the blazing heat.

As I walked off an eight-a-side football pitch last Thursday, I picked up my phone to see four unread WhatsApp messages from my housemate.

"Got some bad news mate," the first one read. "Genuine stinker," the last one ended. 

After avoiding any period of isolation for the past 15 months, our first real brush with coronavirus had ruled both of us out of the Croatia game

Three of his four lateral flow tests had returned positive and a matching PCR result 48 hours before the game confirmed the worst for both of us.

After avoiding any period of isolation for the past 15 months, our first real brush with coronavirus had ruled both of us out of the Croatia game.

It’s the definition of cruel timing.

My first Fan's View column of the tournament should have been discussing returning to football.

The view that LiveScore's Matthew Storey would have had at Wembley on Sunday
The view that LiveScore's Matthew Storey would have had at Wembley on Sunday

The sights and the smells from the day, the emotions of being back in a ground with fellow supporters.

But instead of giving you the flavour of an England matchday at the delayed Euro 2020, I’ll instead give you an insight into how it feels to miss out after falling at the final hurdle.

I’d be lying if I said yesterday was fun. 

It was the day I’d been looking forward to the most since this pandemic started.

Sitting at home, scrolling through social media and seeing photos of your friends at the pub and at the ground was frustrating.

The extra and unexpected further delay to my Euro 2020 adventure starting has only increased the excitement

Listening to the roar as England emerged from the tunnel and then the national anthems being belted out was a lump in the throat moment.

It was a reminder that watching your side on TV will never compare to being there.

Obviously I’m pleased England won and I celebrated the goal — yet it felt nowhere near as sweet as it should have.

But hopefully on Friday that’ll be different.

Our isolation is due to end at 23.59pm on Thursday night, so barring a positive test of my own, I’ll be in the ground supporting the Three Lions against Scotland.

England and Croatia players during the national anthems
England and Croatia players during the national anthems

The extra and unexpected further delay to my Euro 2020 adventure starting has only increased the excitement for that walk up to the stadium. 

It is also important to remind myself it is just a game of football. 

If the biggest impact coronavirus has on my life is making me miss yesterday’s game and not a loved one dying or falling seriously ill, as so many have had to deal with, I’ll take that.

And the terrifying Christian Eriksen incident on Saturday night only emphasised that further.

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EnglandEuropean Championship

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