What is 'Football's coming home'?

It's from a Shakespeare sonnet titled 'England':

Bids thee leave these; and with her sovereign grace,
Here on this grass-plot, in this very place,
11 English heroes in victory they did roam,
Get thy in! Football's coming home.

Oh that makes sense...wait did you say Shakespeare? Did you just make that up?


Yes. It actually originates from a song called 'Three Lions' which was released by The Lightning Seeds, David Baddiel and Frank Skinner ahead of the 1996 European Championships, which were held in England. So it's not actually referring to the World Cup.

The song begins with the line 'It's coming home, it's coming home, it's coming, football's coming home'. The phrase is then repeated a further 23 times during the song. During the tournament a ground announcer played Three Lions following England's 2-0 group stage win over Scotland.

The crowd began chanting the song and it instantly became a team anthem along with 'Stand up if you're English" and "England {bang, bang, bang] England".

The song went number one on the British charts and returned to top spot two years later during the 1998 World Cup. Watch the video and note the appearance of Sir Geoff Hurst who grabs a pint in the pub. He scored a hat-trick in the 1966 World Cup final.

Here's Baddiel and Skinner explaining to the BBC how the song came about.

Did England bring it home in 1996?

No. They lost on penalties to Germany. Current coach Gareth Southgate missed from the spot with the shootout down to sudden death. But the 'Football's coming home' chant grew in popularity during the event and has been used at every World Cup and European Championship since.

Is it coming home this year?



Why do they call it home?

Because football was invented in England. Just like cricket, rugby and netball - which all together have combined two World Cup titles brought 'home'.

Why are they singing it then? Seems early in the tournament to say you're going to win it. Brazil and France are still in it aren't they?

It's either total arrogance in calling it so early, they're only in the quarterfinals, or fantastic irony as deep down they know it's not coming home.

Why are they saying football. I thought it was the Soccer World Cup?
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