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Sport chief football writer in Samara

Sport chief football writer in Samara


Britain achieved the World Cup semi-last out of the blue since Italia 90 as Harry Maguire and Dele Alli struck either side of the interim to beat Sweden in Samara. 

Gareth Southgate's side will currently confront Croatia in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday in the wake of defeating an obstinate Sweden challenge in this quarter-last, with assistance from a grand show by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Maguire, exceptional yet again, broke the stop on the half-hour when another England set-piece proved to be fruitful - Leicester City's ground-breaking safeguard blazing a header past Sweden manager Robin Olsen from Ashley Young's corner.

Everton manager Pickford at that point snuffed out Sweden's expectations of recuperation with a sublime spare from Marcus Berg, before England fixed their triumph following 58 minutes when Alli headed in Jesse Lingard's cross at the far post.

Pickford denied Viktor Claesson and after that Berg once again to anchor his first World Cup clean sheet as England finished off this milestone win with a comment.

Southgate and his England players rehashed the scenes from the sensational punishment shootout prevail upon Colombia as they celebrated before euphoric supporters at the last shriek - one bit nearer to history and with desire levels raised yet again as they stand one amusement far from football's most noteworthy event.

The Three Lions are in the last four for just the third time. They went ahead to win their home competition in 1966 however lost to West Germany on punishments in 1990.

Be that as it may, the curious way this World Cup has taken care of business implies they will now play the group positioned twentieth on the planet for a place in the last - against either Belgium or France.



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Britain set out a marker

Britain not just achieved the World Cup semi-finals out of the blue since Italia 90, they did the activity under the weight of the event and the prerequisite to move down the triumph over Colombia on punishments in the last 16 - with the greater part of the psychological toll that will have taken.

It was not the ideal execution using any and all means. They began slowly and clearly gave goalkeeper Pickford considerably a lot of work to improve the situation Southgate's loving in the second half.

On this day, with desire rising and the indisputable looking about this broad Samara Stadium that the World Cup is truly achieving the business end, England conveyed.

Southgate will, obviously, need those imperfections tended to - however when the World Cup achieves the knockout stage the outcome tallies and England have now won two knockout recreations in the wake of neglecting to taste triumph in one for a long time.

They have missed the mark on such a large number of events that an England group who adapts to present circumstances are deserving of the most elevated acclaim.

Britain, for all the discussion, knew they had this history to battle with and it is to the credit of the quiet and estimated Southgate that he has not just driven the group with such certainty and self-restraint, however he has now guided a standout amongst the most unpracticed squads here in Russia to the last four.

Southgate and England merit gigantic credit - and now those desire levels will rise significantly more.

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Pickford and Maguire become an adult


Maguire and goalkeeper Pickford both had intermittent snapshots of vulnerability right off the bat in this World Cup as they naturally set aside a little opportunity to acclimate to the one of a kind weights of this masterpiece. 

Since the knockout stage started, Everton's 24-year-old attendant and Leicester's mammoth safeguard, 25, have been just enormous.

Maguire might be worked in the out-dated form, yet he is likewise a player with the kind of aspiration and power Southgate cherishes in the three-man protective framework he settled on.

What's more, it was Maguire who gave England the control they required in Samara when he met Young's corner and controlled a header past Robin Olsen on the half-hour.

That was the eighth set-piece England have scored from in Russia and summed up the middle back's ongoing exhibitions.

Concerning Pickford, he just carried on from where he exited off after that glorious punishment spare from Carlos Bacca in the shootout prevail upon Colombia.

Britain expected to be careful any kind of Sweden restoration toward the beginning of the second half and it was Pickford who guaranteed they were not given a life saver with an incomparable one-gave spares from Berg's header and Claesson's shot.

Pickford has been frantic to keep a perfect sheet at this World Cup and he completely demand to keep Sweden out with a flawless show of goalkeeping.

This was the day Maguire and Pickford demonstrated they have grown up with England.

Alli makes his stamp finally


Alli has struggled for fitness and form in Russia but there has never been any doubt he possesses that touch of class and the goalscorer's instinct that can make the crucial difference.
There was speculation Southgate might even make the conservative move of replacing Alli, who missed the games against Panama and Belgium after suffering a thigh injury against Tunisia, with his Tottenham team-mate Eric Dier - but the manager was full of praise for the player pre-match and kept faith.
Southgate underlined Alli's selfless work without the ball and team ethic against Colombia and said it was now up to his England team-mates to deliver service that would allow him to do damage with trademark late runs into the penalty area.
In reality, Alli still struggled to make an impact for long spells on Saturday, but the moment Southgate had been waiting for arrived just before the hour when he was on the end of Lingard's clever lofted cross to head past Olsen.
England and Southgate will want this to be lift-off for a player who can offer so much.