Watch England players sing 'Sweet Caroline' with fans as Neil Diamond sends them video message

8 July 2021, 12:00 | Updated: 8 July 2021, 12:01

Watch England players sing 'Sweet Caroline' with fans as Neil Diamond sends them video message
Watch England players sing 'Sweet Caroline' with fans as Neil Diamond sends them video message. Picture: ITV/Getty

By Tom Eames

England football players celebrated their semi-final win at Euro 2020 in style last night, as they joined in with a singalong of an unexpected football anthem.

Good times never seemed so good... SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!

Following England's 2-1 victory over Denmark last night (July 7), the players joined arm in arm as they belted out Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline' with the fans.

The classic song has become something of an England anthem during the tournament, after it was played multiple times at Wembley Stadium.

Before the match, Neil Diamond himself send the boys a video message of support. Speaking on ITV, he said: "Hi Gareth, Neil Diamond here and I am wishing you the best for the semi-finals. 

"I'll be watching from the mountains of Colorado singing 'Sweet Caroline' along with all of you. Good luck England!"

Harry Kane celebrates with the England fans
Harry Kane celebrates with the England fans. Picture: Getty

The win meant that England reached the final of a major tournament for the first time since 1966. They will face Italy in Sunday's final at Wembley.

Read more: The Story of... 'Sweet Caroline'

Meanwhile, ITV pundit Roy Keane spoke of his love of Neil Diamond, while also joking that he had some arguments with fellow fans at the time.

"He's brilliant", Keane said. "About 10 years ago, but I ended up arguing with the woman next to me. She kept singing all the songs out quite loud so I had a bit of trouble that night, but brilliant concert."

How did 'Sweet Caroline' become a sporting anthem?

Despite having nothing to do with Boston, or the Red Sox, or even baseball, the song is played at Red Sox home games in Fenway Park before the Red Sox bat in the the 8th inning.

Amy Tobey first started playing the song in 1997 - and she apparently played it in honour of a Red Sox employee who named her newborn daughter Caroline, but Tobey has said that she simply liked the song.

Neil Diamond facts: Singer's age, wife, children, net worth and more revealed

It proved popular with the fans, and became a popular selection between innings. When Charles Steinberg took over as Red Sox executive vice president of public affairs in 2002, he also championed the song, and placed it as an 8th inning ritual, where it has been played ever since.

The song is an audience participation classic, with the crowd singing "dum-dum-dum" after the words "Sweet Caroline" in the chorus and "so good, so good, so good" after "good times never seemed so good".

After the bombing at the Boston Marathon in 2013, the New York Yankees - rivals of the Red Sox - began playing this song as a show of support. A few days later, Diamond made a surprise appearance at Fenway Park, where he performed the song in its traditional 8th inning timeslot.

Since then, it has been adopted far and wide. The Sydney Swans AFL team play it, as do the rugby side Castleford Tigers.

The England cricket team celebrated their World Cup win in 2019 with several choruses of the tune, and it has been sung often at Lord's.

Arsenal played the tune in 2017 to celebrate their FA Cup semi-final victory at Wembley, and then Aston Villa began singing it at a match against Stoke City in 2019.