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WATCH: Can England REALLY win the World Cup?

WATCH: Can England REALLY win the World Cup?

Published by Emma Carton at 8:26am 7th July 2018. (Updated at 5:13pm 7th July 2018)

Can England make it to the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in almost three decades?

Yes is the answer after the Three Lions beat Sweden 2-0 in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

Before the match, they had not gone further since Italia 90, when they lost to West Germany on penalties.

Former top-flight footballer Chris Morris, who lives in Newquay, played for Republic of Ireland back then.

He knows the pressure is on but after watching England train for Russia 2018, has high hopes.

"Inevitably there's some nerves about not wanting to make a critical mistake but equally, excited, keen to do well and wanting to do the best you can for your respective teams.

"I'm quietly optimistic really. I think everyone's really appreciated Gareth Southgate's open and honest approach".

Gareth Southgate's guys booked their place in the last eight after a dramatic penalty shoot-out against Colombia.

Plymouth University Psychology Lecturer, Jon Rhodes, says even before the tournament, they would have prepared for that.

"They will have already, in theory, in their mind's eye, taken a penalty and hopefully already scored it as well.

"Things like perhaps how the crowd is reacting, how the keeper might dive a certain way and perhaps hearing the ball hit the back of the net.

"That, in itself, can decrease the amount of pressure and increase confidence which is, ultimately, really key.

"I think, quite often, they've already decided, they already know which way they're going to go and they've already done all the analysis.

"So actually, when it comes down to it, although it sounds very simple, all they've got to do is kick the ball.

"In theory, they've already played this out in their head many times, they already know, or think they know, where to place the ball so it's just a matter of performing that skill".

After victory against Sweden, England will play either Russia or Croatia in the semi-finals.

Watch the highlights from that nerve-wracking victory over Panama, that now feels like a distant memory!

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