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2-Soccer-Confident England reach semi-finals with win over Sweden

2018-07-08 16:16:51
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Far more fancied England sides had failed to reach the last four in the past but Gareth Southgate's young squad powered on as they continued to make a mockery of dampened pre-tournament expectations with another impressive display in Russia.

They were set on their way when Maguire rose imperiously to head home from a corner and Alli added the killer blow after the break as England showed they are not entirely dependent on the tournament's leading scorer Harry Kane for goals.

If anything, England's hero on the day was to be found at the other end of the pitch as keeper Jordan Pickford produced three superb saves to shut out the workmanlike Swedes.

The fans who serenaded their side at the Samara Arena stayed long after fulltime to herald the achievement, knowing that with so many of the favourites having departed, England have arguably their best chance of global glory in more than half a century.

Hosts Russia or Croatia, who meet later on Saturday and are lower ranked than Southgate's side, are all that stands between England and a first World Cup final since they won the tournament on home soil in 1966.

While England's victory was one-sided it was not easy.

Sweden had reached the quarter-finals by making life hard for supposedly superior opponents and it was easy to see why after a dour opening when England looked incapable of stringing passes together against their hardworking opponents.

It was predictable in many ways, therefore, that the deadlock was broken from a set piece. 


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