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World Cup Report: England into the semi-finals for first time in 28 years

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Rob Williams Jul 07, 2018 9:46 am 1,324

They’re starting to believe now.

Perennial underachievers at the FIFA World Cup, England fans are used to their team disappointing them. Entering this year’s tournament with a young team, not much was expected.

But a favourable draw, coupled with some outstanding play sees them advancing into the semi-final at the World Cup for the first time since 1990, after a 2-0 win against Sweden.

It’s just the second time they’ve advanced to the semi-finals since their lone World Cup triumph in 1966.

England can feel it

With 57% of possession and more attempts at goal (12-7), England was the better team in this one.

Harry Maguire’s thundering header gave the Three Lions a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute, and Dele Alli doubled it in minute 59.

After a nail-biter against Colombia in their last match, this one was relatively comfortable for England. Of course, it could have gone very sour if not for the outstanding play of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who was named Man of the Match.

This diving save kept the match 1-0 early in the second half:

And this one in the 62nd minute ensured there would be no comeback for the Swedes:

Not only will England play in the semi-final, but they should be favoured to win it. Their opponent will be the winner of last remaining quarter-final between Russia and Croatia.

Russia’s miracle run comes to an end

Against all odds, the 70th-ranked country in the FIFA rankings found themselves in a penalty shootout with a chance to advance to the semi-finals at the World Cup. Russia had their chance, despite being outplayed by Croatia, after the teams traded goals in extra time.

Croatia won the match 2-2 (4-3), and will play England in the semi-finals.

Russia opened the scoring with a thundering strike by Denis Cheryshev in the 31st minute.

Croatia answered back soon after, courtesy of Andrej Kramaric.

A relatively uneventful match got interesting in the 88th minute, when Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic went down with an apparent injury.

He managed to stay in the match, though he looked hobbled at times.

Domagoj Vida looked to give Croatia the winner…

…until Mario Fernandes levelled the match in the 115th minute.

Here’s the winning goal in the shootout:

Semi-finals

An all-European semi-final is set. France and Belgium play first, on Tuesday. England and Croatia are set for Wednesday.

  • Tuesday, July 10 (11 am PT / 2 pm ET): France vs Belgium
  • Wednesday, July 11 (11 am PT / 2 pm ET): England vs Croatia
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Rob Williams
Man of the people, voice of the fans. Daily Hive Sports Editor.

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