- “It’s coming home” is an England meme that goes viral at every major soccer tournament.
- Often used sarcastically, the line is a lyric from a 1996 song called “Three Lions.”
- It has become the de facto anthem for the England national team since its release.
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“Football’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming!”
You’ve heard the chant. Perhaps online, perhaps being bellowed around the bar, or being sung around the stadium during any England match.
If you’ve been on Instagram or Twitter, you’ll also likely have seen countless memes containing the words shared by seemingly hysterical English soccer fans.
But where does it come from, and what does it mean?
It’s from a song called “Three Lions”
Performed by comedy duo David Baddiel and Frank Skinner and a band called the Lightning Seeds, the song was released in the build-up to the 1996 European Championships, which were held in England.
Although it wasn’t the country’s official tournament song, it was quickly adopted by fans and has since become the de facto anthem for the England national team.
Since its release, it’s been the number one song on the British music charts on four separate occasions and has sold over 1.6 million copies.
What do the lyrics mean?
At the time of the song’s release, they worked on two levels.
The first was literal: England was the host of Euro 96 and the slogan for the tournament was “Football Comes Home.” England is widely known as the birthplace of football.
The second was metaphorical: England had only ever once won major international tournament, that being the 1966 World Cup, which was also held in England.
Since then, England had continually underwhelmed on the global stage, so Baddiel and Skinner were pleading with their nation to perform once again.
“Thirty years of hurt, never stopped me dreaming,” they sang.
Why is the song still relevant today?
To this day, England still hasn’t won another major international tournament.
In 1996, the Three Lions made it to the semifinals, only to be beaten on penalties by German. Two years later at the 1998 World Cup, they crashed out in the last 16.
Things reached a sad low point in 2008 when England failed to qualify for the Euros, however, in recent years, hope has begun to resurface.
After finishing fourth at the 2018 World Cup, England’s men’s team has now reached a first major final since 1966 after beating Denmark 2-1 in the semifinal.
currently finds itself in the final four of Euro 2020, where it will play Denmark on July 7.
As in 2018, most England fans started using the words as a joke this year, but as the team has progressed through Euro 2020, more and more supporters have truly started to believe that football might actually come home.
—Francis Robson (@rebobblehead) June 29, 2021
Having already beaten Germany for the first time in the knockout stage of a major tournament since the 1966 World Cup final, thumped Ukraine, and ground out a win against Denmark, Gareth Southgate’s team look better than any England side in decades.
On Sunday night the team will face Italy, the only team to win every game so far at the tournament, for a chance at glory.
Italy’s recent tournament history is significantly better than England’s. The Azzurri won the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and finished second in Euro 2012, and in total the team has won three World Cups and one Euros.
Regardless, England, as Baddiel and Skinner sung, still believe. A win on Sunday, and football will finally, after 55 years of hurt, come home.