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The Wall Street Journal: World Cup: England beats Sweden to reach semifinals, continuing its remarkable run

SAMARA, Russia—England’s run during this World Cup has been a windfall of firsts. Which is oddly peculiar for the same reason that it is appropriate: This is the country that first kicked around a ball and created the sport that’s being played here.

But the last 50-plus years of English soccer have been so filled with agony that England had to reinvent itself because it couldn’t reinvent the sport. And already this tournament has been filled with a giddy run of new beginnings: The first time it ever scored six goals in a World Cup game, the first time it advanced at the World Cup on penalty kicks, and even its first quarterfinal appearance in 12 years was celebrated as a monumental achievement.

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