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.
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) July 7, 2018
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?
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.
Imagine they get those kids in the cave out safely told they are going to the World Cup final and that England are in it #idgobackin
— david henderson (@dvehendo) July 7, 2018
England very competent but will surely have to improve if they want to... *checks draw* Nevermind.
— Raphael Honigstein💙 (@honigstein) July 7, 2018
It might be coming home............
— Graeme McDowell (@Graeme_McDowell) July 7, 2018
Are England that good or are Sweden that poor!!!??
— Noel Hunt 🌐 (@Noelhunt20) July 7, 2018
Great header from England’s worst player today !!! Come on England 🏴
— Conor.mortimer (😷)⚽️ (@Conmort) July 7, 2018
You could say that they’ve sent the Swedes..........flat-packing
— Féilim Mac An Iomaire (@FeilimMac) July 7, 2018
"Ah I'd like to see England do well..."
Now the shite has hit the fan.. .🙉🙉🙉🙉🙉🙉#ENGSWE
— Rory's Stories (@RorysStories) July 7, 2018
At last 2-0 England. In fairness this Sweden in a World Cup semi final would be an outrage.
— Tony Leen (@tonyleen) July 7, 2018
Really sick of the BBC and ITV coverage always talking about the England team. I also hate when I go into a Pizza Hut and all they serve is Pizza
— Cillian Sheridan (@CillianSheridan) July 7, 2018
— Cormac O'Malley (@cormacpro) July 7, 2018
England-Sweden is over.
If you assume had ever started.
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) July 7, 2018
Am I alone in thinking Sweden probably owe the people of earth an apology?
— Ewan MacKenna (@EwanMacKenna) July 7, 2018
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.
Jordan Pickford 👏
— Shane Duffy (@shaneduffy) July 7, 2018
— conor clifford (@conorclifford91) July 7, 2018
— Jarlath Regan (@Jarlath) July 7, 2018
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.
— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) July 7, 2018