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England take hand off the throttle in basic misreading of hypotheticals | Barney Ronay

It is a concern that England will face Colombia, who are a better team than Japan, and that they go into the World Cup knockout phase on the back of a scratch team’s flaccid defeat

And so on to Moscow. On an underpowered, slightly strange night in Kaliningrad England made it to the last 16 of the World Cup, an event that is worthy of celebration in itself. If there is a note of regret it is the manner of their progress, which came with the first minor mis-step of what has been a positive, sure-footed World Cup campaign.

The Kaliningrad Stadium is one of the smaller arenas at Russia 2018, a generic white bowl, like the bathroom suite of an ageing but perfectly respectable three-star hotel. At kick-off its stands were packed out with the usual basking blocks of red and white, the playing surface drenched in a lovely soft evening light.

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