Defender Kyle Walker has urged his team-mates to seize “the best opportunity” England may ever have to reach a World Cup final against Croatia in Moscow on Wednesday.
England face a Croatian side that has needed extra-time and penalties against Denmark and Russia to make the last four, a path that has led some to question whether they may struggle physically.
The Three Lions, meanwhile, have enjoyed a relatively trouble-free path to the semi-final, given that both defending champions Germany and Spain were both eliminated from their side of the draw early on, something that Walker was quick to acknowledge.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Walker said. “I think we all know that. I think it’s the best opportunity that England has ever had, and probably might ever have, because no disrespect to Croatia, but the other side of the group was a lot more difficult.”
Asked about potential threats, Walker identified his former Tottenham teammate Luka Modric as the obvious one, but added that England would remain positive.
“They have got some fantastic players – I’ve played with Luka and for me he is one of the best midfielders in the world by far,” Walker added. “We have to adapt ourselves to their game plan, but also they have to worry about us. We’ve played well, we’ve played well in the games.
“I think we’ve showed immense character. So we have shown character, we’ve shown belief and I think that’s what is going to get us over the line in this game.”
Winning the Premier League title with Manchester City helped him achieve one dream, he continued, but he still has another.
“I have to dream, I have to dream big,” he said. “I said before when I signed for Manchester City, my dream was to lift the Premier League title and I did that.
“For my country, my dream is to lift the World Cup, so the dream is still happening now. I just hope it can continue.”