England fans over-step line?

Police issue warning to over-excited fans ahead of semi-final

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It's all about Waistcoat Wednesday

By Diane Cooke

It maybe baking heat in Britain at the moment, but it seems that won't put off England fans from wearing waistcoats for the World Cup semi-final against Croatia tonight.

"Waistcoat Wednesday" has become a living tribute to Gareth Southgate, the man who has achieved more with the England team than any other in recent history.

The Three Lions boss is winning the hearts of the nation with his football and fashion, so much so supporters are flying out to Moscow, dressed in his image, to support him.

In fact, most of the current team weren't born the last time England reached the last-four at a World Cup.

That came in Italia 90 - 28 years ago - where England beat Cameroon 3-2- with Gary Lineker scoring twice - in the quarter-finals to set up a showdown with West Germany.

After a 1-1 draw, the game went to penalties - and we all know what happened next. And if you don't then Chris Waddle was the one to miss a penalty and send the Three Lions home with Gazza sobbing his heart out.

The Germans went on to beat Argentina in the final, while England finished fourth after losing 2-1 to hosts Italy in the third-placed play-off.

Striker Harry Kane leads England into its first World Cup semifinal at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Kane has scored six goals in the 2018 World Cup, two more than any other player, but now he's facing a dangerous underdog that shut down Lionel Messi and is playing with no pressure after already surpassing expectations. Oddsmakers favour England to reach the World Cup final. The only other time the Three Lions made it, in 1966, they won it all.

At the time of going to press, Croatia's first-choice right-back Sime Vrsaljko had been ruled out with a knee injury suffered in the win over Russia.

Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic will be monitored after suffering from a hamstring issue in that game.

Gareth Southgate was given a boost when all 23 players in his squad trained fully on Tuesday.

Jamie Vardy is available after sitting out the win over Sweden with a groin problem, while Jordan Henderson has overcome a tight hamstring.

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis, Gracenote told the BBC:

"Croatia are the outsiders of the quartet of World Cup semi-finalists this year as they are ranked 12th in the world by the Gracenote World Football Ranking. Croatia were a genuine dark-horse before the competition started and have gradually seen their chance of winning the World Cup increase as they have progressed. Beating Argentina in a minor surprise in their second match put Croatia up amongst the favourites. The semi-final against England will be the second match that Croatia have played at this World Cup in which they start as underdogs.

"Like Belgium and France, England were among the main contenders to win this year's World Cup prior to it kicking off on June 14. The draw opened up in the knockout phase for England and they are still yet to meet an opponent who are higher ranked by the Gracenote World Football Ranking. This semi-final is no exception meaning that England have the highest chance of the four semi-finalists to reach the final (56%).

"Assuming England reach the final, they will be underdogs for the first time, against whichever team they face. England are therefore third favourites to win the 2018 World Cup with a 24% chance of lifting the trophy on Sunday."

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World Cup 2018: England fans storm Ikea Stratford branch after quarter-final win against Sweden

Archant

Football fans chanting 'It's coming home' on Saturday stormed the Stratford branch of Ikea to celebrate England's World Cup quarter-final win over Sweden.

Bouncing on beds and waving shirts around their heads as bemused staff looked on, the group's beachhead in the Swedish-founded flat pack empire received a good-natured response from the company.

"We are aware of a small group of fans celebrating the match result in one of our stores," a spokeswoman said.

"Being both British and Swedish, we were on the edge of our seats during the game and we would like to say 'grattis!' (that's congratulations in Swedish) to the England team for getting through to the semi-finals.

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