Sports

England braces for World Cup lift-off

England braces for World Cup lift-off

The Three Lions face Croatia in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday (19:00 BST) in their first World Cup semi-final for 28 years.

"The team is getting better and better with every game and that was the same with us in 1966 which is why I'm quietly optimistic", he said.

Pupils from Minster Church of England Primary School in Ramsgate, Kent, dressed for the occasion on what has been dubbed "Waistcoat Wednesday", paying tribute to the national team's manager.

Bloodwise, a British blood cancer research charity that has declared Wednesday as "Wear a Waistcoat Wednesday", called on supporters to show support for England by wearing a waistcoat and at the same time make a donation to the charity.

"It's going to be hard but I fancy us". They worked in '98 and we worked today, we reached out target to get to the final.

On the eve of the game, England manager Southgate said he hoped the team's successful run at the tournament would help unify the country after "some hard moments" in recent years - an apparent reference to Brexit.

"They've seen we've got good lads who are incredibly proud to play, and are playing in a slightly different style to the one we've seen for a few years - playing with confidence on a big stage".

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There was hope, at the time, that some of these players with experience of winning tournaments would help the senior team in the future, but the impact has been felt sooner than many expected.

"We have won a game in stoppage time".

Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, said: "With Brazil now out of the world cup, Belgium is at the top of our probability table with a 32.6% chance of lifting the trophy, closely followed by France (29.8%)".

Folk ensemble Partizan FM, who describe themselves as "the most upmarket folk band in Russia", have produced a quintessentially provincial twist on the song now on every England fan's lips.

Southgate said England's dramatic improvement since Euro 2016, which ended with a humiliating defeat by Iceland in the last-16, was down to the FA's backing. And you know why? "We're concentrating on what we want to do and create".

"Everyone was brilliant in the last game, that's what Gareth's done - he's got us working as a team".


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