England comfortably beat Sweden 2-0 on Saturday to reach the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 28 years.
Harry Maguire headed England ahead from a corner in the first half in Samara and Dele Alli doubled the lead with just over half an hour to go.
England will play the winner of the Russa v Croatia quarter-final that takes place in Sochi later on Saturday.
The victory over Sweden was hardly poetry, nor did it produce any of the drama that had marked recent games in the tournament’s knockout rounds, or even England’s penalty-kick shootout victory over Colombia on Tuesday in its previous match.
But it delighted the England fans who turned up in Samara to sing “God Save the Queen” and wonder if this, finally, might be the year.
The team, one of the youngest in the tournament, and full of friendly and diverse players, has caught its nation’s attention.
“We are a team with our diversity and youth that represents modern England,” England Manager Gareth Southgate said recently.
Streets around England grew quieter when the game began, and even Wimbledon’s Center Court was dotted with empty seats for matches on Saturday as fans ducked out to watch their team boss around the Swedes.
They saw two more goals, and a few more saves from the 24-year-old goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who helped the team post its first shutout of the tournament.
That, too, was a sign that this England might be getting better as the field of contenders narrows. The next test comes Wednesday, in England’s first World Cup semifinal since 1990.