England’s starting line-up for their World Cup semi-final against Croatia on Wednesday remained unchanged for the third knockout match in a row, with coach Gareth Southgate sticking to his trusted 5-3-2 system.
Two nations who have been waiting years to put right the bitter memories of World Cup semifinal defeats will face each other on Wednesday in Moscow with the chance to finally go one step further.
There has been a relentless positivity and forward-looking tenor to England’s approach to this World Cup but before the adventure in Russia began, manager Gareth Southgate forced his players to confront a nightmare from the past.
England celebrated reaching the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in a generation as Russia came to terms Sunday with a heartbreaking exit from their own party.
England defied almost three decades of disappointment to move confidently into the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1990.