A year ago exactly on the same day Croatia knocked out England in the semi-final of World Cup football in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium to shatter the dream of a nation that was so eager to bring the trophy back at its home.
England’s men’s cricket team ensured there was no similar heartbreak at Edgbaston on Thursday as they crushed Australia by eight-wicket to reach the final after 27 years to revive the famous slogan –‘It’s coming home.’
The win sets up a clash against New Zealand on Sunday when England will get the chance to lift the trophy for the first time after defeats in their previous three finals.
England captain Eoin Morgan kept his excitement checked ahead of the final and preferred to enjoy their semi-final win over Australia first before concentrating on the next game.
‘I wouldn’t get too carried away yet. It is obviously a very exciting time for everybody and ourselves included,’ said Morgan.
‘I think giving ourselves the opportunity for Sunday’s final is brilliant. We’ll be giving it everything we can in order to try and win that game,’ he said.
The place in World Cup final did not come very easily for England, who were on the brink of elimination after a dramatic slump in the league phase.
They had to overcome a strong Indian side and other finalists New Zealand to set-up a tie against Australia, who had never lost a World Cup semi-final previously.
But England maintained their top game to put Australia under pressure from the start, bowling out the side for a paltry 223 runs before racing to 226-2 in just over 32 overs.
‘It sounds pretty cool and it feels pretty good,’ Morgan said after the match.
‘The performance in the last three games, we have got better and better as a group. We talked before the tournament that we would have to do that in order to get to a semi-final and final and be contenders.
‘So I think today was, I suppose, a step further in the performance and adding on the two that we’ve built on already, I think it was important that we did that,’ he said.
Morgan was pleased that England did the hardest job with a smile on their faces which made it look easier.
‘Everybody out there on the field and even in the changing room loved every ball that was bowled,’ he said.
‘There was no lack of commitment, application and we had a bit of a day out which, it’s cool when it happens like that, particularly when the bowlers bowl like that, it is awesome,’ he added.
Morgan hailed the team’s changed approach that rewarded them after being walloped by Bangladesh four years ago in Adelaide.
‘It’s been a process for the last four years. In 2015 we were way off the mark, we struggled against the top teams… so there was quite a drastic change in the way we played and the way we looked at playing our 50-over cricket. That has worked out extremely well for us,’ he said.
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