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11th Jul 2018

Gareth Southgate has named the team to take on Croatia in World Cup semi-final

Immortality beckons

Darragh Murphy

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Gareth Southgate will keep the faith with his first-choice XI for tonight’s crucial World Cup semi-final against Croatia.

Southgate has named an unchanged team from Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Sweden, with the opportunity to secure England a place in their first World Cup final since 1966.

Jordan Pickford keeps his place in goal behind Kyle Walker, John Stones and Harry Maguire while Kieran Trippier and Ashley Young continue in their wing-back roles.

Despite concerns over a tight hamstring, Jordan Henderson keeps his place in the heart of midfield, along with Alli, and tournament top scorer Harry Kane will be supported by Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard up front.

“They’ll be the best team we’ve played in terms of what they’re capable of doing with the ball, and what their individuals are capable of, definitely,” Southgate said of tonight’s opposition.

“For us as a team, it’s another chance to create a small piece of history.

“We’ve got to keep getting over those hurdles and I know we talked about the success of the younger teams but this is a much harder, much bigger level for the players and the belief is building as things are happening.

“The more of these tests we can come through, the better, not just for now, but moving forward.”