Saturday’s 2-0 win over Sweden in Samara took Gareth Southgate’s side into the last four, and a Moscow date with Croatia on Wednesday.
Victory was just reward for England’s tenacity and togetherness, not to mention Jordan Pickford’s excellence in goal, but sober reflection might uncover areas for improvement. The darting runs expected of Alli and Jesse Lingard did not arrive with the frequency or potency Southgate desires, while Raheem Sterling’s dynamic running badly needs a goal to settle his nerves.
England, though, are not kidding themselves that they have peaked and will return to their Repino base focused on fine tuning their game.
“I think we’ve developed very well here, we’ve showed a good level and had the right attitude, commitment and fight from the beginning,” said Dier, a late substitute against Sweden.
“But a team’s quality can always improve and we’ll try to keep getting better. We believe we can still improve a lot, so we will try to do that.
“We have had the right attitude, mentality and willingness to fight.”
Captain Harry Kane added: “We know there is still a big game ahead, but we are feeling good and confident.We just have to go again, keep doing what we are doing and make the country proud.”