BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Millwall boss Neil Harris is backing Gareth Southgate’s England to reach the World Cup finals.
The Three Lions face Croatia tomorrow night with the winner going on to face either Belgium or Brazil in the final.
Harry Maguire and Dele Alli scored for England as they beat Sweden 2-0 on Saturday to reach their first World Cup semi-final since 1990.
And the Lions squad, who fly to Portugal tomorrow for a training camp, will sit down to watch the epic clash with Croatia as hopes grow that Southgate’s men can end a 52-year wait to lift the most famous piece of silverware in football.
“We’ll train early evening and then watch the game together,” said Harris. “It will be great for the players to be able to do that.
“We are certainly looking forward to the game – it should be exciting – and I certainly expect us to win.
“The performance against Sweden was outstanding. We controlled the majority of the game and certainly could have scored more goals. We were dangerous in possession and once we got in front it really settled us down and we looked a top side.
“When you play in a quarter-final then you expect the opposition to have chances and Jordan Pickford’s saves were at key times.
“Croatia have got some very talented players going forward but we can certainly expose them at the back.”
Harris had said pre-tournament that he thought a realistic target for England was to reach the quarter-finals.
But their passage has been aided by the likes of Argentina, Germany and Spain all making early exits.
Harris said: “I thought it would be a building process, a transition period for us as we built towards the Euros and the next World Cup.
“But once the draw opened up for us then I have not been surprised by how far we have gone.
“I do expect us to get to the final and that is a fantastic chance of winning. We are comfortably as good a side as Belgium and France and better than Croatia.
“There have been some great results over the last 12 months, albeit friendlies and qualifiers. Gareth has been consistent in picking a formation and group of players who he believes in and wants to work with for the next four to eight years.
“He has put his trust in them, for them to take small steps to get to where they want to go to.
“You are looking at this group over the next two, four or six years to be successful.”
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