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quarter final clash with Sweden

World Cup 2018: England fans ‘confident’ ahead of quarter final clash with Sweden

Sky News

“The English have Harry Kane, and yes he’s a world class player, but we have a fantastic team,” one of their fans told me at the city’s beautiful water front. England’s quarter final clash with Sweden.

England’s quarter-final tie with Sweden kicks off at 3pm UK time, with the winners playing in a World Cup semi-final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday.

The Three Lions last reached this stage of the tournament in 2006 when they lost to Portugal and are looking to secure their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years.

Supporters arriving in the Russian city of Samara for the game were confident of seeing Gareth Southgate’s team reach the last four.

“We’re having the best time here, money can’t buy an experience like this, all we need now is the win,” one fan from Lichfield, Staffordshire, told Sky News.

Travel website Skyscanner reported an 189% surge in flight searches to Samara this week, while the Foreign Office said there had been a 165% increase in online views about entering Russia.

Handfuls of tickets were available just days before the game but it was unclear if reports of a surge in online interest in bookings would result in larger crowd numbers.

The number of England fans at the opening game against Tunisia was said to be the lowest at a World Cup for 30 years and they were vastly outnumbered by Colombia supporters in the previous round.

Temperatures in both the UK and Russia are set to soar for the quarter final, with the mercury potentially reaching 33C (91.4F) at home and peaking at 30C (86F) in Samara around kick-off time.

One player unlikely to feature in the game is striker Jamie Vardy, who picked up a groin injury in the dramatic win against Colombia.

He had been due to take the fifth penalty but his injury meant that Eric Dier had to step up.

Samara’s shiny new 45,000-seater stadium looks like a space ship and its design is a nod to the city’s place as the heart of Russia’s aerospace industry.

If England can get past a well-drilled Sweden side here things will really lift off for Southgate’s men.

Speaking ahead of the game, the England manager hit out at suggestions that his side were a “team of entitlement”.

Former Sweden midfielder Hakan Mild had claimed England do not have the determination required to triumph as they are “spoilt children who earn a lot of money”.

Southgate said: “We’re lads who have come from Barnsley and Leeds and Bolton and Blackburn.

“I always think Sweden like to point we’re paid this and that, and we’re the team of entitlement, when I don’t think that is the case for this group.

“I was at (Crystal) Palace when they weren’t quite as good as they are now. We’ve scrapped and fought our way.”

The Swedes are an extremely disciplined side, each man knows precisely what is expected of him and in the post-Zlatan Ibrahimovic era of Swedish football it’s all about the collective rather than the individual.

“The English have Harry Kane, and yes he’s a world class player, but we have a fantastic team,” one of their fans told me at the city’s beautiful water front.

England’s quarter-final tie with Sweden kicks off at 3pm UK time, with the winners playing in a World Cup semi-final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday.

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