How much time have you actually spent watching England, over the last couple of decades?
Did you follow them in 2010 in South Africa, or 2016 in Brazil?
Or pretty much any tournament going back to 1996?
Until last year, England have been "flat track bullies" to use a cricketing metaphor, or "dirty seal clubbers" to use a videogaming one.
i.e. we're great at stomping weak opponents, but look pretty clueless as soon as we come up against decent opposition.
Russia was the first time we'd made the semis of any tournament for 22 years. Not really that impressive a record. Yes, we have some great attacking players...and given good service they will score a boatload of goals.
However, our defence is suspect against even "weaker" teams and we've kept clean sheets more by luck, or opponents' inability to finish, than good defending. Better teams are also more likely to dominate the midfield and make it hard for us to create scoring chances.
We look particularly susceptible at set pieces and to counter-attacks. Thats not just me saying it - thats what the pundits think too.
Also, with the greatest of respect, Ireland aren't usually expected to do well in tournaments anyway. IIRC the last time they really did well was USA 1994.
Whereas England have had at least a couple of so-called "golden generations" of supposedly world-class players, who were great for their clubs, but failed to deliver for their country.
That kind of repeated hype and failure can make one a tad cynical.
So call me a miserable git, but I don't think England have done anything to justify some of the hype and praise on here. Last year was a good platform to build on, but thats all. Yes the current team has lots of potential, but also some glaring weaknesses that WILL be ruthlessly exploited by better teams.
Prime example was last night's game. Good result (more impressive than Montenegro) and another clean sheet, but still some worrying signs at the back and careless midfield play.
D Bournemouth v Wolves
H Blackburn v Barnsley.
H Brentford v Reading.
D Bristol Cty v N/Forest. (Weimann)
A Derby v P.N.E.
H Huddersfield v Birmingham.
A Luton v Leeds.
H Stoke v Wigan.
H Swansea v Millwall.
H W.B.A v Sheff Wed
H Real Madrid v Paris St Germain............(Higuan)
H Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb.
D Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer 04 Lever:...(None)
H Juventus v Ath:Madrid.
A KRC Gent v R.B Salzburg.....................(Håland)
A Slavia Prague v Inter Milan.
H Zenit St Petersburg v Lyon.
H RB Leipzig v Benfica.............................(Werner)
H Valencia v Chelsea.
A Lille v Ajax.............................................(Promes)