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Only football can do this. England winning the rugby union World Cup brought enormous pleasure to vast numbers, the home Ashes triumph of 2005 giddy disbelief to those who had long grown used to Australian domination.
Yet neither touched as many distant corners as this World Cup. The peak television audience for the deeds of Michael Vaughan’s team was 8.4 million; 15 million saw Jonny Wilkinson drop his goal. Andy Murray’s first Wimbledon victory brought in 17.3m, and that was a win for Great Britain.
England’s last-16 win over Colombia peaked at 23.6 million. Wednesday night’s semi-final is likely to draw in yet more.
Maybe it will all end here. Maybe, this once, it will not.