Sweden v England 07 July 2018

Heather Diaz
July 10, 2018

The World Cup 2018 semifinals will match France vs. The "football's coming home" lyric is back in vogue in Russian Federation, ringing out from stadiums to bars among the few thousand fans who defied the logistical challenges to follow the team.

Hosts Russia or Croatia, who meet later on Sunday 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.

England cruised by Sweden to book their place in the last four of the World Cup, reaching their first semi-final since Italia 90.

Fernandes had been a hero for Russian Federation earlier when his header in the 115th minute equaliser had sent the match to penalties after Domagoj Vida's goal in the 101st had given Croatia a 2-1 lead.

There was John Stones, now a leader in defence, there was Jordan Henderson, controlling midfield and there was Raheem Sterling who may have missed a golden chance but who stretched the Swedes when all they wanted to do was stay compact and grind this out to a closer finish.

"We looked composed", England captain Harry Kane said. "We were also one of the youngest teams in it, but we said we're an improving side who want to make our own history".

But that meant almost four million people were left disappointed after iPlayer crashed with just three minutes left of the game.

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"It's not since 1990 that we've been in a World Cup semifinal".

Croatia defender Domagoj Vida put them 2-1 ahead from a Luka Modric corner in the first period of extra time but Russia's Mario Fernandes headed an equaliser with five minutes remaining, much to the delight of the partisan crowd at the Fisht Stadium. There's a lot of quality here, in every team. The other night the game was a bit different, he did a diligent job without the ball for us and I think maybe we need to encourage him a bit more to get into those areas where I think his strengths lie and where he can have the biggest impact on the game, so that's something we've got to think about.

"We don't have renowned world-class players yet", Southgate said, "but lots of good young players who are showing on the world stage that they're prepared to be courageous with the ball, try to play the right way, have shown some mental resilience now".

From losing goalkeeper Gordon Banks to food poisoning before the West Germany game in 1970 to Maradona's "Hand of God" in 1986, they have not enjoyed the rub of the green.

Harry Macguire opened the scoring for England, thrilling fans.

Beckham promised to take Ibrahimovic shopping at IKEA if Sweden won, so long as the LA Galaxy striker agreed to eat fish and chips at an England home worldwide in the event of a victory for Gareth Southgate's side. But youth, efficiency, and belief have carried this team within one victory of the World Cup final.

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