England's goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was a brick wall and stopped everything that came his way.
England's goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was a brick wall and stopped everything that came his way.

Why England is losing it over this man

FOR only the third time in World Cup history England has secured a spot in the semi-finals after defeating Sweden 2-0.

Headers from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli fired the Poms into the final four for the first time in 28 years.

Maguire opened the scoring in the 30th minute at Samara Arena and Alli doubled the lead after the break as Gareth Southgate's young squad continued to defy dampened pre-tournament expectations with another confident display.

For once it was not Harry Kane who claimed the plaudits as the tournament's top scorer was kept quiet, but England found another hero at the other end of the pitch as Jordan Pickford produced three superb saves to keep the workmanlike Swedes at bay.

His desperate dives saw him swat away attempts that looked certain to end up in the back of the net and secured his first clean sheet of the Cup.

Pickford's stunning efforts in keeping Sweden goalless earned him the much deserved man of the match award and had fans calling for him to receive a knighthood as former stars lavished him with praise.

Sweden coach Janne Andersson admitted things may have been different were it not for Pickford's heroics.

"The (England) keeper made great saves yet again. You have to respect you are faced with a good keeper," Andersson said.

"England are absolutely good enough to win the World Cup. They are forceful and well organised. Congratulations to both the team and the coach. They are a good side, who did not give a lot of openings."

The man himself said there was no magic formula to his performance, putting it down simply to hard work.

"I just work hard every day, I mean training," Pickford told reporters after the match. "All the saves I made in training is to showcase on a match day and I've showcased that I'm capable of making saves, it's a good performance."

The entire nation of England has struggled to contain its excitement since it fell into the softer side of the draw. A potential berth in the World Cup final for the first time since 1966 now awaits.

Pandemonium erupted after both goals were scored and then hysteria kicked in when after 95 minutes, the referee blew the final whistle.

The game kicked off at 3pm local time in London with SBS commentator Martin Tyler calling it "the traditional time for football" and that "the nation has stopped to watch, I can assure you of that".

England fans celebrate the win.
England fans celebrate the win.

English fans stood shoulder to shoulder in their masses and as the match came to an end the celebrations began.

The remarkable news even took a hold of Wimbledon as cheers went up around the All England Club when word of the victory filtered through.

Ushers letting fans in and out of Court 18 momentarily vacated their gates for a triumphant embrace, as England's "it's coming home" chant echoed - politely - around the grounds.

Even F1 star Lewis Hamilton, after securing pole position ahead of Sunday's British Grand Prix, put his race meetings on hold as he celebrated the stunning victory with his team.

As the contest drew to a close chants of "on our way, on our way to Moscow, on our way" rang out across the arena from English fans.

The Three Lions' semi-final battle will take place on Thursday morning at 4am (AEST) and will see them take on  Croatia after they downed Russia 4-3 in a penalty shootout following a 2-2 draw.

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