Thursday 23 May 2019

WATCH: Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker lead chorus of Football's Coming Home as pundits start party in studio

Gary Lineker in top form after England win
Gary Lineker in top form after England win

England are daring to dream - is 'Football Coming Home'?

Gareth Southgate's men are through to the last four of the World Cup for the first time in 28 years and we will be hearing a lot more about that.

Frank Skinner and David Baddiel's 1996 Anthem, Football's Coming Home, has been reinvented as the Three Lions inch their way to the promised land.

Following today's 2-0 waltz past sorry Sweden, the BBC crew got the party started with Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker and Rio Ferdinand among those in high spirits celebrating with a sing-song.

Former captain Shearer earlier lauded England's "professional" and "thorough" performance against Sweden.

Harry Maguire scored in the first half and Dele Alli in the second in Samara as the Three Lions moved into the competition's last four for the first time since 1990.

Gareth Southgate's side will now face Russia or Croatia in Moscow on Wednesday night.

Shearer said on BBC One afterwards: "Amazing. What a performance. Professional, thorough. Every single player played their part.

"(Jordan) Pickford was outstanding in goal when he had to be. I thought Harry Maguire was superb, (Jordan) Henderson...what a shift he put in in midfield. John Stones, Deli got his goal. All of them were absolutely magnificent and thoroughly deserved it.

"Their attitude from the very first moment they arrived at this World Cup to now has been first-class and I didn't ever feel anything other than we are going to win this game, we are going to get to a semi-final.

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"I never felt nervous at all during the game and that is how comfortable they made us feel."

He added: "I thought coming into the tournament that we could get to perhaps the quarter-final, but they have just got a momentum, a team spirit that is just dragging them through, and I thought it was their best performance tonight.

"They were so comfortable, they managed the game superbly well, they did what they had to do, they saw the game through and it was very, very thorough and professional."

Pickford, who made a superb save in the last-16 penalty shoot-out triumph over Colombia, pulled off a number of impressive stops against the Swedes.

Shearer's fellow BBC pundit Rio Ferdinand, another man who has skippered England, said of Pickford: "If you're going to be successful at tournaments you need your goalkeeper to stand firm and what he has showed here is great character and personality, and the confidence that has come out of that penalty save is so apparent within this game."

Ferdinand was full of praise for Maguire as well, saying he thought the Leicester centre-back was "immense" in both boxes and describing him as "someone who is indispensable I think in this team at the moment."

He also defended Raheem Sterling, who produced some unconvincing finishing, saying: "Every one of that back four for Sweden will come off the pitch knowing they have had a game against Raheem Sterling.

"He puts in a shift like not many others on the park in terms of running in behind, turning and facing defenders and making them go on the backfoot."

Regarding Southgate, Ferdinand added: "I think a lot of people were sceptical when he got the job just under two years ago - is he going to be strong enough, is he going to be able to make the big decisions? He has answered that. He has told people 'yes I am'.

"There is a steeliness behind that chilled out persona he gives out and he is making the right decisions on a consistent basis and has got these boys all in now to what he is putting down."

Shearer then said with a smile: "It's magnificent. Thoroughly deserved. It's coming home - I'll end on that!"

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