England coach gets vests for life as Cup cult grows

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Gareth Southgate's charges will play Croatia in the semi-final of the World Cup on Wednesday as the try to emulate the class of 1966.

The situation is a far cry away from the bitter disappointments of Euro 2016 and crashing out at the hands of Iceland, and England as a country appear to have been united by football fever.

"I was here last summer for the Confederations Cup, and it was exactly the same, there were a lot of stories going into the tournament that I knew weren't going to be true, and that's proved to be the case", former England worldwide Southgate added.

Emergency services hit out at the "disgraceful" minority of England fans who marked the team's passage to the World Cup semi-finals with disorder.

"Of course, the tournament ended in disappointment and it is nice to be able to put a different frame on it now".

However, shortly after taking over the England team, Southgate made the players sit down and watch a replay of that horror show.

World Cup fever is sweeping the nation - and Danny McLaughlin has found himself at the centre of attention thanks to his unbelievable resemblance to star player Harry Kane.

"So we were at home and I went to get changed and I thought, 'Hmm, shall I wear those socks?' We still needed the win, but I thought, 'No, it's ridiculous'".

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I can say the same for my team-mates.

The win, in a 2010 World Cup qualifier, secured England's place at the finals in South Africa with five qualifying matches still to play.

Southgate tomorrow takes his team into the biggest game the country has seen since the 1990 semi-final.

The photograph of which Smith speaks was taken past year, when Southgate confiscated his squad's phones and whisked his players off for a gruelling military weekend at the Royal Marines Commando base in Devon.

They won the 1998 tournament against Brazil but lost the 2006 final on penalties to Italy.

The strategy takes into account 200,000 statistical models, data on individual players and team performance and ran one million simulations before making its judgement.

England's Harry Maguire celebrates after scoring the first goal against Sweden July 7, 2018.

"We've got to believe, definitely", he added. "It's just little stuff to maybe give us an edge".

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