In the latest England news, Gareth Southgate has praised the reliance of his squad following Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final win over Sweden.
The Three Lions required penalties to beat Colombia in the last 16 but showed no signs of fatigue in steamy conditions in Samara, as headers either side of the break saw them home.
Harry Maguire and Dele Alli were the heroes but there were also a host of other strong showings, most notably from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who produced a string of fine saves.
Croatia await in the semi-finals on Wednesday and fatigue could be a factor, with the Vatreni having had to rely on spot kicks to get past both Denmark and Russia.
They do have plenty of talent though, with Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric arguably the finest midfield tandem in the entirety of international football.
However, it is England who are the 27/20 favourites heading into the game with bet365, and despite doing his best to keep his young squad calm, Southgate is clearly starting to believe himself.
After falling short in recent tournaments, the current crop seem to have an edge that has been absent in the past.
Southgate insists his side still have plenty to prove but feels the resilience they showed in battling back from the gruelling win over Colombia to produce a composed display against the Swedes bodes well ahead of their last-four outing.
“We are a team who are still improving,” Southgate said. “We know where we are. We are having success because everybody is working so hard, everybody is working hard on the field.
“We don’t have renowned world-class players yet, but lots of good young players who are showing on a world stage that they’re prepared to be brave with the ball, try to play the right way, have shown some mental resilience as well over the last few weeks.
“We know that in years to come, they are going to be stronger. But today was a huge opportunity for us and it was not something we wanted to miss out on.”