Gareth Southgate and his team are just hours away from England’s first major final since 1966.

Their historic clash against Italy follows ugly scenes at Wednesday’s semi-final, when fans booed opponents Denmark during their national anthem and one pointed a laser at Kasper Schmeichel’s face – leading to charges by UEFA.

Still, nothing seems able to dampen English spirits ahead of Sunday’s game, with supporters increasingly convinced that football could, this time, really be coming home.

That said, one US commentator has certainly managed to upset and enrage readers on the other side of the pond, with a deeply scathing article about what victory for the Three Lions would mean for the country’s “tortured psychology”.

The piece, titled ‘The National Psychodrama of England’s Euro 2020’ and published in New York Magazine’s ‘Intelligencer’, begins by describing “this summer of soccer” as dominated by England’s “monomaniacal levels of self-involvement.”

The author then suggests that whilst a win for Italy would be a “perfectly good story about a proud footballing nation fallen on hard times,” and victory for Denmark “would have been even better,” he’s “not sure I can bring myself to even speculate about what might happen” if England succeeds.

“The English themselves seem utterly confused about what a victory for this particular team would mean,” he continues.

“The national team has long borne the weight of England’s collective fears and anxieties. That the team has not won a major international tournament since the World Cup in 1966 — a hallowed historical moment — has been taken as a metaphor for a once-mighty empire’s sad decline on the global stage.”

He goes on to suggest that the country’s favourite chant of “it’s coming home” – taken from the song ‘Three Lions’ of course – is driven by the idea that “if England wins, soccer and all its attendant glories will have returned, at long last, to their proper place.”

He then names Jack Grealish as the squad’s indisputable “fan favourite”, branding him “a b-list version of David Beckham with floppy hair, a goofy grin, and thighs the size of Iberico hams,” and suggesting his popularity is largely driven by racist ideals.

“As it happens, the team’s actual best player in this tournament, Raheem Sterling, was born in Jamaica,” he adds.

The piece continues by calling out the “gall of Conservative politicians” for publicly celebrating the team they previously condemned for taking the knee before matches.

The writer ends by pointing to “the inevitable bedlam that will follow an England victory on Sunday.”

“What story will England tell?” he asks. “Will it be about a triumph of multiracialism and tolerance over bigotry and small-mindedness? Or a more chauvinistic notion of England made great again?

“The likely answer, unsatisfactory for all sides in England’s endless season of soul-searching, is that it will be both.”

The article has proven fiercely divisive on Twitter, with some users hailing it as an “outstanding piece,” and others condemning it as “absolute tosh”.

Here’s a look at some of the praise it has received:

And here’s what critics have had to say:

Indy100 has contacted Intelligencer for comment.

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