TWELVE months ago yesterday, England played in a World Cup semi-final and lost.

Last week, England played in a World Cup semi-final and lost.

But where the men’s and women’s footballers failed, the cricketers triumphed.

England now play New Zealand in Sunday’s World Cup final at Lord’s.

When it looked like Eoin Morgan’s side were on the brink of elimination – effectively playing knock-out cricket as the group stage came to a close – they came to Chester-le-Street and beat Sunday’s opponents with ease.

With Durham’s Mark Wood and Ben Stokes in the side, as well as Yorkshire’s Joe Root, Johnny Bairstow and Adil Rashid, there is a strong North-East influence.

They are playing a vibrant, powerful brand of cricket and their win over Australia was as exciting as it was comprehensive.

There’s no reason to fear the Kiwis and the thought of England being crowned kings at a packed and passionate Lord’s on Sunday is an exciting prospect.

With the game being broadcast live on Channel 4 for the public, it is hoped that the likes of Wood and Root can help inspire a generation.