Former England striker Alan Shearer believes Gareth Southgate’s side have “got a great chance of winning” the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia this month.
The 47-year-old, who played 63 times for the Three Lions, scoring 30 goals, is working for BBC Sport as a pundit during this summer’s tournament.
Shearer, who has scored the most goals in the history of the Premier League (260), says in his latest column that England have shown why they can win the World Cup after defeating Colombia 4-3 on penalties on Tuesday night.
He said, “England are probably not the most talented team at this World Cup but we showed against Colombia why we have now got a great chance of winning it.
“What we might lack in ability, we make up for with a superb team spirit and enormous character, and it is amazing how far that can take you.”
Harry Kane’s opening penalty in the 57th minute was ruled out by Colombian defender Yerry Mina’s header late into stoppage time in Moscow, forcing extra-time in Tuesday’s last 16 clash.
The tie went all the way to a penalty shootout, where goalkeeper Jordan Pickford clawed away Carlos Bacca’s effort, before Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier scored the winning spot-kick to seal a 4-3 victory.
Southgate’s Three Lions now face Sweden at the Samara Arena on Saturday (15:00) for a place in the semi-finals, where either hosts Russia or Croatia await the winners.
Shearer added, “As we saw on what was a memorable night for Gareth Southgate’s side in Moscow on Tuesday, the difference between success and failure in football can come down to extremely fine margins.
“The best teams do not always come out on top, but it is the ones with togetherness and belief that go on and achieve things at a tournament like this, and England have definitely shown their mettle there.
“They overcame every setback they faced against the South Americans and everyone is so proud of them, especially because all the previous shootout failures we have had made things even harder.
“There have probably been more gifted England squads at World Cups in recent years but, in terms of a unit, we might not have had a better group of players than this one.
“That’s part of what makes this team different – England are young, vibrant and exciting and have got a great attitude.
“I am proud of what they have done so far in Russia, and I am looking forward to seeing what they do next.”