ENGLAND will take on Sweden today in a crunch World Cup 2018 quarter final match that will eave the entire country on the edge of their seats this afternoon. When was the last time England reached a World Cup semi-final?
The England squad has impressed since their arrival in Russia after securing two wins – including a dramatic 6-1 victory against Panama – and one draw in the group stage.
This was followed by a shock win from a penalty shoot-out against Colombia – England’s first ever success in plant lies in the World Cup.
And while the country has become carried away by the win that sent them into the World Cup’s quarter-finals, manager Gareth Southgate will have his eyes firmly on beating Sweden on Saturday.
BBC sports reporter Phil McNulty said: “Gareth Southgate’s squad have elevated excitement among England followers to fever pitch as they prepare to face Sweden after their first knockout stage win at a major tournament since 2006, and only their second penalty shootout win in eight attempts.”
When was the last time England reached a World Cup semi-final?
England have their best chance to reach a World Cup final since the despair of losing to Germany on penalties in the semi-final in Turin at Italia 90.
The World Cup in 1990 turned out to be England’s best since 1966, the only time we reached the finals (and won).
After a slow start in the group stage, playing all their matches in Sardinia, England went on to secure narrow wins after extra-time over Belgium and Cameroon in Naples in the first 2 knockout round matches.
The Three Lions were then tragically beaten in Turin on penalties by West Germany, who were the eventual winners of the tournament.
World Cup 2018: The England squad has impressed since their arrival in Russia
BBC sports reporter Phil McNulty said: “Sweden’s recent record confirms that complacency will be folly, but there is also no escaping that this group of England players – who survived the hothouse of Moscow’s Spartak Stadium as the massed ranks of Colombian fans virtually took over the arena in a blaze of sound and fury – have been presented with what may just be a once-in-a lifetime opportunity.”
Millions of football fans will be gripped to their televisions on Saturday as England look to secure their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years.
The Three Lions’ biggest football match in decades is set to bring the country to a standstill, with the quarter-final against Sweden kicking off at 3pm UK time.
And in Russia England fans were out and about in the host city of Samara, on the banks of the river Volga, on the day before the game, soaking up the hot sun.
But officials in Russia have apparently not seen increases in arrivals to match the level of online searches.
One fan, Bob Green, 53, from Stamford, in Lincolnshire, said he believed more England fans were making the journey.
“There are more people coming over, I know people that are coming over now,” he said.
“I think there are a real lot of disappointed people who have done England for years and years and their families have, quite rightly, said this is what we’ve been shown on television.
“Now the press are saying it’s the best World Cup ever.
“The allocation is about 2,500 and I think we’ll have 8,000-9,000 in there to be honest.”
World Cup 2018: England have their best chance to reach a World Cup
World Cup 2018: Gareth Southgate will be hoping to secure victory
As for England’s opponents, he was not full of confidence that England could make it to the next round.
He said: “I think it’s a bit disrespectful of them to be confident because their record in this tournament is better than ours, they’ve played better teams than us and our record against them is really, really poor.
“We’ve changed things on the penalties now, so it might be time we can change the scores against them.
“I’m not sure we can do it, no.