Gareth Southgate says England can become immortal like 1966 heroes


England play Croatia in the semi-final in Moscow on Wednesday for the right to meet France or Belgium in Sunday's final.

There are a few familiar faces: Simon Rodger, who went on to play nearly 300 games for Palace, is in the middle row with the shock of blond hair; Chris Powell, who played for England and is now managing Southend, is in the middle; and, on the front row, sitting next to me, is Gareth Southgate.

Yet while it was complete focus on the job in hand as the players prepared for what is the most high-pressure game of their worldwide careers, the relaxed vibe surrounding the England base camp in Repino remained.

Three Lions Throwback The last time England reached the World Cup semi-finals was in 1990, when they lost a penalty shootout against eventual champions West Germany.

"We weren't aware of everything going on in the country as we were kept in a bubble", said Hurst, who added that none of the other teams still in Russian Federation should frighten England.

"We had a terrific manager in Alf Ramsey, who had a great system and he selected a team that could be successful and had good characters". It's incredible because I was one of those kids growing up who wanted to play for England.

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"But now, I pray and I would give anything in the world that this squad eventually "confines us to history". We should continue to show that belief against Croatia - we've got a real chance".

It has been seven long weeks of hotel rooms and training-grounds since England's squad got together to begin preparing for what has become their World Cup odyssey but Young says there are no signs of cabin fever.

"Making the hotel feel like you're at home, pictures of families in the rooms, things to do in the hotel", he said. I think we can do it. "You wouldn't have said we were going to win beforehand", Hurst added.

The Manchester City man hailed England's campaign in Russian Federation as "a pleasure".

"But for us, it's all about the experience".

"So we'll just have to assess people as we go".