The tiny car
The remote control car before the England v Denmark semifinal.
Much excitement was caused by a cute remote control Volkswagen delivering the match ball to the centre-spot for the early games. It then went into hibernation – presumably in a tiny garage – before reappearing for the semi-finals. It resembled a hamster driving a dinky Uber and even got its own Twitter account, @TinyFootballCar.
Gareth Southgate’s lucky tie
The England gaffer’s trademark World Cup 2018 waistcoat has been succeeded by a knitted polka-dot tie. The £49 accessory from boutique Brit label Percival promptly sold out and sales of similar styles doubled. Television pundit Ian Wright donned tribute neckwear for the semi-final.
The manager of reigning Women’s Super League champions Chelsea proved such a hit as an ITV pundit – tactically insightful and infectiously enthusiastic – that she was promoted to pitchside duties for the semi-final. Hayes’ victory dance when England won was a jiggy joy.
Italy’s dapper dugout
An England v Italy final is a clash of the best-dressed dugouts. Immaculate Azzurri manager Roberto Mancini has been outshone by his assistant Alberico Evani, who combines the squad’s powder-grey seersucker Armani blazer with chic specs and on-trend ’tache. Like Peter Sellers meets someone from Guess Who? meets a fashion god.
Raheem Sterling’s sister
Lakima Sterling went viral last week for her key role in the England hero’s early career. She spent her teens taking her kid brother on three buses across London every day to train at QPR’s academy, not getting home until 11pm. It paid off. He even bought her a house to say thank you.
Unicorn pool-floats first found viral fame as part of an England team-building exercise at the 2018 World Cup. They were back last week, with the class of 2021 riding them during a water-based recovery session. Frolicking 19-year-old Bukayo Saka looked especially thrilled. Those rainbow manes are terribly now, too.
Bigwigs at both terrestrial broadcasters have watched mega-ratings roll in. BBC One pulled in a whopping 20.9m for last Saturday’s England v Ukraine quarter-final. This was beaten on Wednesday when a record 27.6m tuned into ITV for the semi against Denmark – the biggest ever peak UK audience for a match. Read it and weep, Simon Cowell.
Crying German girl
It’s all too much for one tearful Germany fan.
She lost the match but won our hearts. When a tearful young Germany fan was caught on camera after their defeat to England, some Three Lions fans trolled her. However, Joel Hughes from Newport launched a crowdfunder to “show her not everyone in the UK was horrible”. It raised £36,000, which the family asked to be donated to Unicef. Dánke.
Clever PR? Proximity to the metropolitan media bubble? Either way, the Surrey streetfood venue somehow became the go-to place for footage of England fans throwing beer in the air and embracing each other in socially non-distanced delight.
Atomic Kitten are back.
Nobody predicted a comeback for the B-list scouse girlband but their career was revived by 2000 hit Whole Again being retooled as Southgate You’re The One (Football’s Coming Home Again). Neil Diamond has been the other musical beneficiary, with Sweet Caroline rivalling Three Lions as the unofficial England fan anthem. Ba-ba-baa indeed.
Paramedics and protective rings
Happily, the tournament has recovered from Danish midfield maestro Christian Eriksen having a cardiac arrest and being resuscitated on the Copenhagen pitch. Even more happily, he’s recovered too. A haunting image was his anguished teammates forming a circle to maintain privacy as heroic medical staff saved his life. Uefa has invited the six medics who saved his life to the final, alongside Eriksen and wife Sabrina. Nice touch.