Former Hull City defender Harry Maguire allowing himself to dream after England’s victory over Colombia

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Former Hull City defender Harry Maguire allowing himself to dream after England’s victory over Colombia

Returning to the changing rooms after helping England secure a spot in the last eight of the World Cup for the first time in 12 years, Harry Maguire could perhaps be forgiven for dreaming of lifting the famous trophy a week on Sunday.

The Three Lions did it the hard way, taking the lead in the second half through a Harry Kane penalty before Yerry Mina levelled the scores in the dying embers of added time to send the game to extra time and then penalties.

But, Gareth Southgate’s side held their nerve to buck the trend and win a World Cup shootout for the first time.

The game may have been traumatising for the millions of England fans watching back home in Blighty, but the former Hull City defender insists the confidence of progression never wavered amongst the England squad at the Spartak Stadium.

“We fully believed we would get the job done,” he told the Evening Standard.

“Obviously we made it hard work for ourselves, we should have killed the game off. It was tough out there, they were solid and organised.

“We felt in control for the whole game but we had a lapse of concentration and the set play swung the momentum their way. But going through has given us great belief we can go far.”

Standing between England and a first World Cup semi-final since 1990 are Sweden, who underlined their stubborn reputation with a 1-0 win over Switzerland in the round of 16 on Tuesday afternoon.

England have failed to beat Sweden in two previous meetings at the World Cup and while Maguire is preparing himself for a tough game, the defender believes they are more than up to the challenge when the two sides meet in Samara on Saturday.

“Sweden are well organised and a really good side,” he added. “Obviously they sat deep in the game (against Switzerland) and they might do the same against us, looking to play on the counter attack.

“They have been really effective at that in this World Cup and it is going to be a tough game. We will have to be really prepared for it.

“Is this a great chance to win the World Cup? Definitely. We have won a knock-out game, we are into the quarter-finals – that hasn’t happened recently. It’s a good chance. The pressure might build a bit more but we are ready for it.”

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