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The Irish Reaction As 'It' Takes One Step Closer To Home

The Irish Reaction As 'It' Takes One Step Closer To Home
By Arthur James O'Dea Updated

Whether or not it makes it all the way there, football has taken one step closer to home. In a World Cup quarter-final clash that scarcely lived up to the standard one may expect, England overcame Sweden in a dour affair that finished 2-0 to Gareth Southgate's side.

Two good headers from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli seemed almost par for the course given England's prowess under the high-ball during this tournament. Without ever necessarily looking in complete control of proceedings, the moments where England seemed threatened were so far and few between as to be almost inconsequential.

Sweden, for all the huffing and puffing they did in their pre-match press conferences, looked a team that had found themselves well  beyond the limits of their capabilities.

Although greater challenges lie ahead, these may not arrive until the final for England. Theoretically, it ought to be Croatia that awaits Southgate's men in the semi-final. Yet, after their penalty shoot-out win against Spain in the round-of-16, who could really write Russia off at this point?

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As the reality of what is occurring dawned on viewers not necessarily of an English persuasion, ruminations on what even 'it' is, and how much closer to home it has travelled, troubled as many as it thrilled.

One England player who many couldn't but praise was Jordan Pickford. The hero of their penalty shoot-out victory against Colombia in the last-16, the young Everton 'keeper has impressed.

However fortunate the draw may have been, England have nevertheless delivered on what could have been hoped of them pre-tournament.

One game away from their first World Cup final since 1966, England won't be overly bothered by whatever means take them there.

See Also: Brendan Rodgers Defends Celtic Fans Over Racism Claims


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