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England set up Croatia World Cup semi as Russia crash out

Man-of-the-match Pickford made three outstanding saves to keep Sweden at bay, further burnishing a reputation that has grown throughout the tournament.

“It’s a great achievement for the team, we owed it to the fans back home who believed in us,” said Alli.

“It’s always nice to score, especially on occasions like this. It’s an amazing feeling to be going to a semi-final at a World Cup.”

The tournament’s leading goalscorer Harry Kane failed to find the net for the first time in the competition, but the England captain said confidence was high after posting the country’s best run at a major tournament since Euro ’96.

“We’re buzzing. We know there is still a big game ahead, but we’re feeling really good,” he said.

As England basks in a long heatwave, life came to a standstill for the match, with fans watching the game on big screens at events up and down the country.

The party began with beer showers and chants of “Football’s Coming Home” — England’s unofficial football anthem written for the Euro ’96 tournament.

Prince William, the president of the Football Association, praised Southgate’s men.

“You wanted to make history @England and you are doing just that,” he tweeted. “This has been an incredible #WorldCup run and we’ve enjoyed every minute. You deserve this moment – Football’s Coming Home!”

Even if Southgate’s team reach the final, William will not attend the match because of Britain’s diplomatic boycott of the World Cup in Russia over a nerve agent attack in England this year.

– Neymar anguish –

Neymar has expressed his anguish after Brazil’s 2-1 defeat by Belgium on Friday.

“I can say it is the saddest moment of my career, the pain is great because we knew we could get there, we know we had a chance to go far, to make history…. But it wasn’t to be this time,” he wrote in an Instagram post.

The disappointment follows Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 loss against Germany in the semi-finals four years ago, when they hosted the tournament.

Next up for Roberto Martinez’s Belgium is a mouthwatering semi-final against France on Tuesday in Saint Petersburg. France comfortably beat a Uruguay side shorn of the injured Edinson Cavani to back up their thrilling victory against Argentina in the previous round.

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