World Cup 2018: news and reaction as England set up Croatia semi-final – live!

“It’s fun listening to and reading the thoughts of those who cover England,” writes David Seare. “After years of analysing failure they’re trying to explain this sudden arrival in a semi-final. It seems to me that a bit of luck combined with finding a way to score goals (the more grapple-free approach to set pieces) and a more solid-looking shape than we expected are to blame.

“That combined with the happy accident of a coach who learned his business in junior international football and players selected to serve the team rather than some players picked for who they are and then thrown on the pitch to see what happens have made a refreshing change. We shouldn’t try to explain it but just ride the wave until it crashes on the shore. Logic suggests the semi-final might be the end but who knows what lies round the corner?”

Here’s a suggestion: “To call England’s brilliant set-piece routine ‘the love train’ doesn’t sit well with me. Has anybody suggested ‘the Kane train’ yet?” Well, you just have Torbjorn Karlsen.

But seeing as this World Cup is rapidly turning into the third summer of love, how about the Groovy Train? It’s a good excuse to post this anyway:

Continue reading…