England are home, the World Cup is over, the WSL hype is starting again (The Etihad! Stamford Bridge! Derbies!) and it's time to take stock of what we've seen over the last month and a bit.
Before we do though...90min's had a presence wherever the Lionesses have been, and it only felt right to do a little notebook dump of all the little things we've noticed over the last month or so.
Jill Scott Is the Best
Long tournament situations is where a team's leaders really come into their own, and Jill Scott has been an absolute diamond on and off the pitch for the Lionesses. Need tension diffusing in a press conference? Jill Scott. Need someone to put her arm around a junior player? Jill Scott.
The 'Obvious Jill' Instagram series? Jill Scott.
Ellen White Might Actually Be Harry Kane
Okay, hear me out. Six goals in an England World Cup campaign which ends in an agonising 2-1 semi-final defeat? The ability to create a space for a shot out of very little? In tight games, just staggeringly clinical at her best? If Ellen White isn't Harry Kane, she's near as damnit.
She did score all of her goals from open play though, so...sorry Hazza.
England Are World Leaders in Rondo Volume
There was a very settled pattern with England's training sessions in France – or the 15-minute open media portion, at least. The goalkeepers go and do a bit of warming up and passing over to one side, on the far end of the training pitch. Meanwhile, the outfielders strap little sleds to themselves and do sprints.
For the last five minutes or so of the open portion, it's rondos. Just...so, so many rondos. Coaches counting up touches, players zipping around their little circles, and that's it.
We know why. The camp didn't want to give any of their planning or prep away, so they gave inconsequential things to the media before every game. But...the same inconsequential thing every time? The FA are sadists.
Honestly? Still Not Sure How Good England Are
It feels weird to say about a World Cup semi-finalist, especially one which was a semi-finalist at the last World Cup and the most recent European championship, but I have left this tournament with absolutely no idea of how good this Lionesses side is. Again.
Are they the team that struggled past each of the teams in their group? Are they the team who were ruthless against Norway, in their first real test? Are they the team who came a toenail-close offside decision and a crap penalty from beating the champions...or are they the team whose defence parted to let those champions score two easy headers?
The answer might be 'all of the above'. A very good team, who can fall apart if prodded the right way and beat anybody in the world if not.
The Feel-Good Factor Is for Real
Whatever you think about Phil Neville the coach, or Phil Neville the tactician, or Phil Neville the waistcoat-gimmick-thief, it's undeniable that he's helped change the vibe around what had been a fractured England setup over the last 18 months.
The atmosphere was more focused than at SheBelieves in the spring, but...it's a World Cup, y'know? I mean, it's the World Cup. What did you expect?
The Future's Bright
While this is a reasonably experienced squad, it's a pretty young one too. Looking ahead to 2023, 11 of the 23 will be ages 30 or younger, including the likes of Keira Walsh, Fran Kirby, Nikita Parris and Beth Mead. A further four will be 31, including Lucy Bronze (surely captaining the team at that point) and Demi Stokes.
With all of this and the increased standard of professionalism in the WSL, there's no reason to think the Lionesses won't compete again in 2023.