Earlier this week, my young son and I watched the England penalty shoot-out against Colombia from the World Cup again on YouTube. I’m not sure why – I think it showed up as a next option – but I was taken aback by just how cool Marcus Rashford’s penalty was. Requiring arguably even more nerves of steel this time, the young Manc ignored the fact Gianluigi Buffon was standing between him and the winner and belted it home.
If we had lost, I don’t think I would ever have felt more pride in United in defeat. Ole threw on Chong and also Mason Greenwood, handing the 17-year-old a debut on the biggest stage. This was Manchester United; this is everything we want to see from the club we love.
But here was still four minutes to see out, and on came Edinson Cavani. Romelu Lukaku, after his two goals, went to centre-back. Scott McTominay won a ball in midfield to ease the pressure and it was almost becoming difficult to contain the emotions.
Some time ago, in the office, we had a conversation where we agreed we did not want to say ‘United are back’ for fear of causing any jinx or heralding a false dawn. But, as the Red Army belted out, while the French supporters around us left the stadium in complete silence and bewilderment at what they had seen: 'United are back!'
The views in this article are personal to the author and not necessarily representative of the views of Manchester United Football Club.