England’s appearance in a first World Cup semi-final since 1990 is an “incredible feeling”, says boss Gareth Southgate.
Goals by Harry Maguire and Dele Alli sealed a 2-0 last-eight win over Sweden to leave them one game from the final.
England now prepare for a momentous match in Moscow on Wednesday against Croatia, who beat Russia on penalties.
“I hope everyone at home enjoys tonight because it’s not often this happens,” Southgate told BBC Sport.
England have not reached the final since winning the World Cup in 1966, while it is only the third time they have reached the last four.
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Maguire and Alli struck either side of the interval in Samara. Maguire broke the deadlock on the half-hour, flashing a header past Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen from Ashley Young’s corner.
England sealed victory when Alli headed in Jesse Lingard’s lofted cross at the far post.
“We knew it was going to be such a different game after having extra time and penalties against Colombia, with all the emotion and the energy,” said Southgate.
“We had to withstand a lot of physical pressure but the resilience of the team was crucial.
“We knew we would have the majority of the ball and it was a case of breaking them down because Sweden are a really well organised team.
“Over the years we have underestimated them.”
‘We can create our own history’
Jordan Pickford played a key role in England’s win after the Everton goalkeeper produced some fine saves including a superb stop to deny Marcus Berg.
“I wasn’t born the last time England reached a World Cup semi-final,” said the 24-year-old.
“We have always said we would take one game at a time and we can go on and create our own history.
“We knew it was going to be difficult, we know what Sweden bring to the party and we managed it very well. After I made that first save from Berg, it set me up for the rest of the game.
“England fans are different class and we really enjoyed playing in that atmosphere.”
‘We want to make the country proud’
England captain Harry Kane did not add to his six goals at the tournament but is relishing a semi-final in Russia’s capital.
“I thought we were fantastic. We faced the long ball – different to what we have faced before – and we’re buzzing with the result,” said the Tottenham striker.
“We know there is a big game ahead with the semi-final but we are feeling good and we’re confident.
“We just have to go again. We are enjoying it and we’ve got keep doing what we are doing and make the country proud.”
‘That was for the fans’
Alli, 22, became the second youngest England World Cup goalscorer after Michael Owen, who was 18 when he scored at France 1998.
“It’s a great achievement for the team and we owe it to the fans,” said the Tottenham midfielder.
“They have been believing in us. It was a great performance from the team.
“It’s always nice to score especially in occasions like this. I don’t think it was my best performance but to get a goal is unbelievable and it’s an amazing feeling to get to the semi-final.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44752175