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England monitoring Jordan Henderson and Jamie Vardy ahead of World Cup semifinal

10 July 2018
England monitoring Jordan Henderson and Jamie Vardy ahead of World Cup semifinal

Fantasy is edging closer to reality in Russian Federation as the Three Lions continue their charge towards Sunday's final, with Croatia all that stands between them and a shot at history.

Croatia manager Zlatko Dalić on England: "We believe in our strengths".

Harry Kane looked tired at the end of Saturday's game, and Jordan Henderson was taken off as a precaution.

Full-back Ashley Young said the bond between the players has helped make the camp feel like a holiday.

England's deep run also is a surprise.

The team that reached that stage in 1966 went on to win the tournament on home soil and Shilton is backing this team to do likewise.

Southgate saw the excitement and expectation that comes with reaching a semi-final during his playing days when he was part of the squad that reached the final four at Euro 96. "There's no complacency." One of the reasons given for England's success in Russian Federation is their remote base in the sleepy seaside town of Repino, 45 kilometres (28 miles) northwest of Saint Petersburg, far removed from the hype back home.

"They know they stand on a moment of history and they're desperate to do as well as they possibly can", he said.

"We watched the game today and saw how good they are from dead-ball situations". The Three Lions have scored eight goals from such scenarios, more than any other side, and will take confidence knowing Russian Federation found the net in the same fashion.

"'Of course there is some power left for the English", he added.

After years of lamenting the behavior of its traveling fans, maybe now it is time for England to take more of an inward look.

"I knew the team was more than capable of winning in the last 16, I was really confident the boys would do the job and not miss me too much".

That means Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling - none of whom are noted for the defensive side of their game - must put in the hard graft of closing down space and harrying their opponents. "We worked on that in practice". Martinez hopes to succeed where they failed by employing a two-year process to ensure "this is a team, this is not a group of individuals". Just because he doesn't go around shouting about it then he doesn't get the credit that is due.