England v Sweden attracts record live online audience for BBC

Gareth Southgate

Former England captain David Beckham also hailed Gareth Southgate's side as "confident, professional and a team that are playing for each other, playing for the manager and playing for our country".

"We've talked, touched briefly, certainly, on the team which won", the England manager said.

"Gareth Southgate has re-energised English football, as anyone who's been to a Walkabout to watch a match will tell you!"

"If anyone's got any tickets out there, we're desperate for the semi-final", said Holder in the van before striking out for Moscow, just over 1,000 km (600 miles) north-west of Samara.

Just two wins away from being crowned World Cup champions for the first time since 1966, England is getting a little bit insane right now.

The domestic press, criticised by some in the past for putting too much pressure on the team and being excessively critical, have been given better than usual access to the players, many of whom have been happy to share their back stories.

England will play Croatia in the semi-final on Wednesday night on ITV, with both broadcasters showing the final next Sunday.

In the minutes and hours that followed the triumph, joyous fans took to the streets in England to party, in anticipation of England's first trip to a World Cup semifinal since 1990.

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Russia Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called the team's performance "magnificent", saying the tournament would change the face of football in the host nation.

"They've been through a lot", Southgate added.

The '66 World Cup did, however, feature the first mascot in the shape of World Cup Willie, a shaggy-maned lion, most often seen sporting the Union Flag on his shirt rather than the flag of St George.

England is just hoping Pickford's thumb heals in time for Croatia.

"We've already got extra staff in place to help us keep you all safe and having fun".

Sweden's gritty performances in Russian Federation that ended with a 2-0 defeat to England in their quarter-final indicate a bright, if not very entertaining, future for Janne Andersson's side.

The force said it will increase its presence in the city for England's match against Croatia on Wednesday. Sweden managed to survive a group with Germany, Mexico and South Korea, only to lose to Germany in the final seconds of the game.

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