The final score didn't matter. To them, England had already won, and it didn't need to enlist the help of a £50-million forward or even some good old-fashioned, gird-your-loins grit.
Bottles of lager thrown at Portuguese police, taunting of locals, and renditions of songs celebrating the deaths of German troops during World War II was all that was required for victory. One of the 18,000 fans who traveled for Thursday's Nations League semifinal 3-1 defeat to the Netherlands - a pro-Brexit male who is "fiercely patriotic" and hates "PC bullshit," according to his Twitter bio - wrote jubilantly of how England supporters had "occupied" Porto.
In the week leading up to the match, the FA launched its "Don't Be That Idiot" campaign, an initiative intended to highlight and therefore tackle anti-social behavior by Three Lions fans. "You are part of our team," England manager Gareth Southgate said in support of the drive.
Clearly, it wasn't enough, as Southgate's address incorrectly assumed the kind of people who drop bicycles into canals for a laugh prioritize football over cretinism.
Rather than watch a screening of Portugal take on Switzerland in a designated fan zone on Wednesday, a gurning English herd apparently decided to throw projectiles at locals - some of whom were children - and urinate on the street. They marked their territory with St George's flags and replicated their usual 3 a.m. behavior outside kebab shops and taxi ranks up and down England, except with an aggressive form of patriotism.
That is exactly why they traveled: football was an afterthought, "havin' it" was the main objective.
These aren't isolated incidents, either. The "Don't Be That Idiot" campaign assumes in its language that it's the odd miscreant tarnishing the reputation of the vast majority of England fans, but that is to abandon responsibility for a pandemic issue that's worsening. Huge masses congregate and provoke unrest, forcing shops to lock their doors and schools to close early. Last year's embarrassing conduct in Amsterdam and Seville foreshadowed what happened around this week's matches.
Politics are undeniably a factor. The Brexit stasis isn't as much of a debilitating disaster for the country as is often portrayed in the media, but the 2016 vote to leave the European Union has empowered a dangerous faction of the United Kingdom.
These are not the people who were enticed by the "Leave" campaign's empty pledge to plow £350 million per week into the National Health Service; they are instead the people who voted to depart purely for nationalistic reasons.
"You can hear mentions of Brexit in so many chants. You could even see some fans refusing to go in the EU queue for passport control in the airport," Miguel Delaney wrote for the Independent.
The abhorrent acts of those claiming to be England supporters have intensified since Brexit, and football has been used as a platform to air their racist views. There were even suggestions that one of the Premier League's finest players was subject to racist abuse from imbeciles in the stands on Thursday:
Eighteen thousand people should never be allowed to descend on one nation, particularly when they're visiting from a country with a reputation as damaged as England's.
A quick scour on Twitter uncovers swathes who shouldn't have traveled: A lad from Northampton proudly claiming he was aiming antisemitic slurs at Tottenham Hotspur fans; someone decorating Porto with stickers branding the Labour party leader "a nonce," and more. The FA needs to strip these individuals of their official Supporters Club membership rather than coin catchy yet futile slogans.
Brexit isn't getting resolved any time soon, so it's up to English football to cut the idiocy off at its source: the airport. Otherwise, it will continue to fester.