COMMENT: So football is "coming home" is it? We'll see about that. And in any case, whose "home" would that be?
A hugely unscientific survey in this office yesterday had it at 9-5 in favour of Scandinavian delight to squash English optimism early tomorrow. One in the Swedish camp, a man of firm, unshakeable conviction, added the rider that England "haven't got a s*** show". We, and he, will see.
The Swedes were pretty unimpressive in seeing off Switzerland in the round of 16 but they seem to have a bit of a "tough to put away" look about them; England have so far beaten Panama and Tunisia in pool play, hysterical Colombia by that penalty shootout and lost to the only decent team they've come up against, Belgium.
We keep getting told how the draw has opened up nicely for England to go, er, all the way. Best park those ideas for now.
Even so, it's worth remembering that had things played out as expected in this most unexpected of World Cups, England would have had Germany in this weekend's quarter-finals and Spain in the semifinals. That certainly sounds a crunchier route than Sweden, then Croatia or Russia to make the final.
But it's been a marvellous World Cup for so many reasons. Supposed lightweights barking louder than expected; a couple of heavy hitters skulking out early (defending champions Germany and 2010 champions Spain); spectacular goals, a clutch of penalties taken with a mix of aplomb, conviction and occasional ham-fistedness; and award-winning diving.
The referees deserve a guernsey for trying to control the pushing and pulling at corners with some success. They've done most things right around the VAR technology so why they don't simply flash some yellow, or red, at the Neymars and other barrel-rollers beats me. It wouldn't take long before these con artists would roll back into line.
So far, there have been 146 goals in 56 games. That's 2.6 goals a game in case you're wondering.
No one has more than England's captain, Harry Kane. Without his six, just a stab here, England would indeed be back home by now. He's a good chance to walk away with the Golden Boot as top scorer, sitting two clear of Belgium's burly leader of their line, Romelu Lukaku.
Kane is a good example of what people refer to as a talismanic figure in a sports team, someone the other players can rally around. He's also as good a penalty taker as there is at the tournament. Can he carry England a step closer? They have played some decent, committed football but a hunch has it they will come up short against the Swedes.
For what it's worth, it's France, Belgium, Croatia and Sweden to make the semifinals an all-European bunfight. That cuts Uruguay, Brazil, Russia and England adrift. Brazil haven't been overly impressive and this watcher simply can't cop the theatrics any more; Belgium, having escaped against Japan in a second half of five goals no less, can go all the way. If they don't this time with their wealth of talent, they may never.
Still, it's been a ripping show so far.