Could it really be coming home?
In a marvel that has had fans raucous and triumphant across the world, the three lions have reached a World Cup quarter final for the first time since 2006, winning a penalty shootout that saw Colombia knocked out of the tournament.
Their next match is set against the Swedes in Samara stadium on Saturday.
The stadium, generally known as Cosmos Arena, was freshly built - as many stadiums across Russia were - for the tournament this year. The stadiums design, inspired by space travel, is one of the most remarkable of the plethora now existing across Russia.
Samara: What to see & do
So what’s there to do in Samara other than watch the football?
Samara is Russia’s sixth largest city, and as with the first two match venues, sits on the banks of the Volga river. It is a scenic city, built at the confluence of the Volga and Samara rivers, fringed by the majestic Zhiguli mountains.
The city’s top attractions date from the era of WWII, when Samara was planned as a potential auxiliary capital if Moscow fell to Nazi Germany. The bunker built for Stalin in 1942 still remains there today.
The Soviet space effort is celebrated in the Samara Municipal Museum of the Cosmos, with a towering rocket standing proud outside.
If history isn’t what you’re after, the banks of the Volga river are lovely for a sun-dappled stroll and the Zhiguli Brewery on the riverside is a great place for a beer.
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