One of the joys of sport is watching your team gain confidence. Such gains can be slow and cumulative, taking years, but sometimes they’re part of a hot streak, needing a string of only four or five matches.

In football, the rising barometer of confidence can happen over a whirlwind 90 minutes. A patchy first half is redeemed by a shot that hits the post, or a narrow miss. Added to a stern halftime pep talk, confidence leaps into the second-half frame...

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