England’s date with destiny is now underway after kicking off against Sweden in their World Cup quarter-final in the Samara Arena.
The England squad walked onto the pitch in their red away colours looking to reach their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years.
Southgate has been keen to talk down England’s chances, but the first knockout victory since 2006 has suddenly got the nation believing.
The starting 11 had their game faces on as they posed for squad photos ahead of kick-off. Southgate picked the same squad that went onto the field against Colombia in the knockout stage.
The Three Lions England players pose for a squad photo minutes before kick off. In the starting line up (from top left) Kyle Walker, Ashley Young, John Stones, Jordan Pickford, Harry Maguire, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier, Jesse Lingard and Raheem Sterling
The Swedes (in yellow) wore their home kit while England came out in their away colours
England captain Harry Kane looks in form as he takes a shot during the warm-up with the kick-off against Sweden fast approaching
Harry Kane is the top scorer at the World Cup and will be hoping to fire his England team to the semi-finals and a match-up against Croatia or Russia
England and Leicester centre back Harry Maguire has been praised for his form throughout the tournament and he looked to be getting stuck in during the warm-up
The Leicester centre back has earned rave reviews from pundits for his calmness and composure on the ball, as well as his strength in defence
Eric Dier, in the foreground, scored the winning penalty for England in the last round against Colombia and he can be seen warming up with the rest of the squad
Tottenham’s Dele Alli was an injury doubt after appearing to struggle against Columbia but he was named in an unchanged line-up by Gareth Southgate
England’s captain and star man Harry Kane can be seen applauding the fans as he gets onto the pitch to warm up at the Samara Stadium
From left to right Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Danny Welbeck, Kyle Walker and Ruben Loftus-Cheek head out for the warm up
England captain Harry Kane takes in his surroundings inside the Samara Arena as the squad walk on the pitch before they kick off against Sweden
The skipper (pictured beside Fabian Delph) had his game-face on just an hour before kick off. He’s looking to extend his goal tally this afternoon
Super-keeper Jordan Pickford makes his way into the changing rooms in the Russian stadium. His penalty save against Colombia sent the team through to tonight’s tie
Jesse Lingard was calm and focused as he made his way into the Russian stadium looking to take England to their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years
Nerves of steel Eric Dier, who scored the winning penalty in England’s knockout tie with Colombia, looked confident as he entered the arena
Manager Gareth Southgate said his men won’t take the Sweden team lightly despite England being the favourites to go through. When asked if England could win the tournament he said ‘This might be one of best opportunities we ever have’
The squad sussed out the Samara Arena pitch before they kick off at 3pm tonight in the first World Cup clash today. If they win they’ll face Russia or Croatia in the semi-final
Striker Harry Kane laughs with Fabian Delph as the team gathered on the pitch before warming up this afternoon
Our captain Harry Kane’s number nine shirt and captain’s arm band are seen hanging up in the changing rooms
The calm before the storm Pictures from inside England’s changing room show players’ kits hanging up in numerical order
Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was England’s hero in the penalty shoot-out win against Colombia and his girlfriend, Megan Davison, takes her place in the stadium ahead of the match
She looked excited ahead of the game and Rebekah Vardy, the wife of Leicester striker Jamie, could be seen taking selfies with her children in the background
From left to right Nicky Pike, wife of Ashley Young, Annabel Peyton, partner of England’s Jack Butland and Rebekah Vardy, wife of Jamie Vardy ahead of the game
England’s round of 16 hero, goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, can be seen going through his paces ahead of the crucial tie against Sweden
Jack Butland is England’s number two goalkeeper and, although he has yet to play at the World Cup, he looked focused in the warm-up
Annabel Peyton, partner of England’s Jack Butland and Nicky Pike, wife of England’s Ashley Young could be seen taking their seats as the game drew closer
The beautiful Samara stadium will be around 10,000 short of full capacity but the fans of both teams are expected to create a din
While the team warm-up, a bevy of WAGs – including Jamie Vardy’s wife Rebekah and Harry Maguire’s girlfriend Fern Hawkins – took to social media ahead of the big game to reveal their nerves for their team, after boarding private jets to fly to Samara from the base in Repino.
Rebekah led the way, as she continued to show off her patriotism and support for her husband Jamie, 31, as she flew her kids Megan, Taylor, Sofia and Finley, to the match, shortly before revealing she was hitting the wine while Fern followed suit with a frosty glass of bubbles – four hours before kick-off.
Ahead of hitting the jet, Rebekah smoldered in the thigh-grazing mini-dress which clung to her envy-inducing curves. In homage to the team, the white mini featured a football with ‘England 2018’ emblazoned on the front.
Letting her brunette tresses cascade over her shoulder, Rebekah teamed the look with a pair of chic white trainers. She captioned the post ‘Come On England’.
Showing their support In another post, Rebekah shared a snap of her four children, with the whole family donning red England shirts as they jetted out of Repino to head to Samara
Sultry Rebekah Vardy continued to show off her patriotism as she shared a sultry snap in a minidress ahead of Saturday’s England vs Sweden quarter final of the World Cup in Russia
Boozy The ladies seemed to be calming their nerves with some hard refreshments as Rebekah revealed she was having a ‘much needed’ glass of white wine while Fern was indulging in a refreshing sip of champagne
In another post Rebekah shared a snap of her four children, with the whole family donning red England shirts as they sat in the private jet.
The wives and girlfriends of Gareth Southgate’s team have been staying in Saint Petersburg, where the footballers have their base in Repino, before the team flew over to Samara on Friday afternoon.
Harry Maguire’s long-term girlfriend Fern was begroaning her early start as she took to social media to share a snap of the dreary runway while layering the time over the top of the shot – revealing it was 7.52am.
Rebekah too shared a snap of the plane’s departure from her window, writing early start alongside an unhappy face.
Bonding time A day before Fern had shared a loved-up snap of her exploring Saint Petersberg with long-term boyfriend and Leicester City defender Harry Maguire
Tough times Elsewhere Fern was begroaning her early start as she took to social media to share a snap of the dreary runway while layering the time over the top of the shot – revealing it was 7.52am
England supporters have been queuing up for four hours outside pubs in boiling heat to watch the Three Lions take on Sweden in their World Cup Quarter-final clash.
Today’s match at the Samara Arena will bring the country to a standstill as a total of 32 million viewers – the biggest TV audience in living memory – tune in.
Fervent football fans were pictured standing outside pubs in London as early as 10am this morning in sizzling 91.5F (33C) heat to secure a space inside.
These supporters have been queuing up since 10am this morning to get into The George pub in London Bridge to watch today’s tie
The fervent fans baked in sizzling 91.5F (33C) heat as they waited to secure a space inside the traditional English pub
England’s victories so far in Russia have sparked scenes of wild celebration here and the atmosphere today will be electric – especially if they progress.
Elsewhere, crowds have flocked to outdoor big screens in cities including London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol, Exeter and Leeds to make the most of the beautiful weather while watching the game.
A line wraps around the block outside of a pub in Clapham shortly before 12pm today – almost four hours before the match kicks off
There was a massive queue outside of The Original Oak in Headingley, Leeds, this morning. Around 32 million viewers are expected to tune in to BBC1 to watch Gareth Southgate’s men
Fans queue outside Water Poet in Liverpool Street, central London, this morning to watch England attempt to reach their first World Cup semi-final for 28 years
To help keep cool – or steady the nerves – 38 million pints of beer are set to be drunk by fans as the latest chapter in captain Harry Kane and the team’s Russian adventure triggers a £190million big-game drinks and food spree.
Some 18 million pints are expected to be downed in pubs – 7 million more than usual – with pub takings soaring to £100 million as a predicted 3.5 million fans pack the country’s 40,000 pubs to watch the match.
At home, 20m pints are expected to be drunk today costing around £22m, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said. Food spending on the match will add up to another £30m in pubs and £40m at home.
Swedish WAGs geared up to cheer on their footballing husbands by taking to Instagram to showcase their support.
And while England’s chief WAG is Rebekah Vardy, the leader of Sweden’s contingent is Maja Nilsson
Maja married Manchester United defender Lindelof in Sweden last month after getting engaged in the Maldives. She snapped this pictured, left, of the WAGs getting the beers in
Donning Sweden’s famous yellow shirts, the wives and girlfriends of Sweden’s players are prearing for the game in Samara, Russia today.
And while England’s chief WAG is Rebekah Vardy, the leader of Sweden’s contingent is Maja Nilsson.
Maja married Manchester United defender Lindelof in Sweden last month after getting engaged in the Maldives.
She later shared photos of the beautiful countryside ceremony on her personal blog and Instagram, where she boasts 114,00 followers.
Josefin Johnsson, wife of Mikael Lustig of Sweden. Donning Sweden ‘s famous yellow shirts, the wives and girlfriends of Sweden’s players are prearing for the game in Samara, Russia today
Josefin Johnsson, left, the wife of Sweden’s Mikael Lustig and Tina Loonberg, centre, the girlfriend of Sweden’s Sebastian Larsson before today’s match against England
The glamorous blonde who works in marketing is a blogger and also hosts a podcast alongside fellow WAG and best friend Sanna Dahlstrom
Former fashion student, Josefine Ringblom – Macus Berg’s wife – likes to show off her favourite garments on Instagram
The glamorous blonde who works in marketing is a blogger and also hosts a podcast alongside fellow WAG and best friend Sanna Dahlstrom.
And she’s become known for her forthright views, coming under fire from some United fans when she hit out at bosses over the ‘disgusting’ cost of executive boxes at Old Trafford.
Rather shockingly, around 10,000 tickets remain unsold for England’s match against Sweden, as 32m Brits worldwide gear-up to watch the game on TV.
There are supposed to be around 3000 England fans at the Samara stadium today and they looked to be in high voice ahead of the game
Just 2,836 tickets have been sold to England supporters for the game against Sweden. Pictured England fans in Samara pose with a Mexico fan
Becca Shearman, 22, takes on the Swedish meatball challenge at Apocalypse Cow in Liverpool. She will be one of the many watching the game on TV today
England’s supporters on the streets of Russia ahead of today’s crunch game against Sweden
Just 2,836 tickets have been sold to England supporters for the game in which they are likely to be vastly outnumbered by Swedish fans.
In comparison, more fans are expected to watch the game at a free screening at Nottingham Castle – 3,000 people, according to Sky.
England’s thrilling victory over Colombia was watched by a whopping 23.8m people – making it the most viewed TV programme of the year.
This young England fan looks more than ready for the match as he shouts and waves the national flag, with kickoff closing in
These fans also look ready with the England flag painted on their faces as they wait for the World Cup quarter-final to get underway
Bars across the country have been filling up on beer ahead of today’s game against Sweden. Pictured beer being delivered
England fans on the streets of Samara. The Three Lions match against Sweden is likely to attract 30m viewers, making it the most viewed England game ever
The Three Lions match against West Germany in the World Cup in Italy in 1990 is the team’s current most viewed game ever.
But the game against Sweden today is tipped to top the Italia 90 viewing figures, with up to 30m people expected to watch the game.
Despite England being mere hours away from their big World Cup clash against Sweden, Sir Bobby Charlton was spotted signing autographs and joining in on the fun.
The World Cup winner seemed to be relaxed ahead a big day of sport for England with the World Cup quarter-final later and Kyle Edmund set to take on three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic.
It remains to be seen whether he will be leaving Wimbledon early with the England vs Sweden game set to kick off at 3.00pm and Edmund’s match starting at 4.15pm.
This fan let the world know where he’d rather be when he held up a placard cheering on the England team at Wimbledon
Sir Bobby Charlton was spotted visiting Wimbledon today despite the England vs Sweden World Cup quarter-final being just hours away
The former World Cup winner and England legend joined a host of other sporting personalities to watch the tennis, with British number one Kyle Edmund set to take on Novak Djokovic
British tennis number one Kyle Edmund, pictured, is facing a major task today but took the the time out to throw his support behind the England football time
Former England footballer Bobby Charlton and his wife Norma take their seat in the Royal box on Centre Court before watching Spain’s Rafael Nadal play against Australia’s Alex De Minaur
Sir Bobby was among those in the royal box on Saturday.
He was joined by sporting stars including Sir Mo Farah, boxer David Haye, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and former cricketer Andrew Strauss, on another scorching day at Wimbledon.
At the Rose and Crown pub in Wimbledon village, scores of fans have gathered for the England game, including many who have left Wimbledon.
Those who have tickets for Saturday’s tennis have been issued with pink and blue re-entry wristbands.
There were chants of ‘get the tennis off’ as fans waited eagerly for the football to be put on the big screens.
Clive McCabe, from Twickenham, has seats on Court One but has left to watch the football.
He said ‘It’s the most people who have left Wimbledon on middle Saturday between 1pm and 2pm.’
He added ‘There’s more people leaving than going in.’
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) announced on Friday that Edmund will play third on Centre Court, with the scheduling likely to avoid a clash between the tennis and football.
Haye admitted he would be one of those trying to juggle the two sporting events.
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