I absolutely do not buy into this "England have had it easy" narrative in this World Cup. England may have had a fairly easy group for qualification to this World Cup, but they got through it almost flawlessly, unbeaten, with only two draws, both away from home. They've now beaten everyone they've had in front of them, aside from one team in a dead rubber at the end of the group stage, in a game in which both sides heavily rotated their squads, with that team also making it to the last four. This World Cup has seen current World Cup holders, Germany, exit at the group stage, finishing bottom of their group with only one win, having lost to both South Korea and Mexico. It's seen the runners up from the last World Cup, Argentina, exit in the first knockout round, with just one win, having drawn with Iceland and lost 3-0 to Croatia. We've seen Spain eliminated in the first knockout round, again with just one win (a single goal victory over Iran), being eliminated by Russia, and drawing with Morocco courtesy of a stoppage time, VAR-assisted goal. We've seen Portugal eliminated in the first knockout round, another with just one win (a single goal victory over Morocco), drawing with Iran in the group stage. Even Uruguay, who made it to the quarter finals before going out with a whimper against France, only beat Saudi Arabia and Egypt (who lost to Saudi Arabia) by a single goal. Croatia, England's semi-final opponents, who looked very good in the group stage, have now needed penalties to get past both Denmark and Russia in the knockouts. We've also got Netherlands and Italy who didn't even qualify. Netherlands drew with Sweden, lost to Bulgaria, and were battered 4-0 by France, and ended up third. Italy scraped a stoppage time win over Macedonia away, then drew with them at home, and were battered 3-0 by Spain, before ultimately failing to score against Sweden over two legs in the play-off. Both struggled against the same Sweden side that are now being brushed aside as "easy opponents" after England pick up a comfortable 2-0 win over them in the World Cup quarter finals, after Sweden topped their group. Going back to previous tournaments, in Euro 2016, you see England being eliminated in the first knockout round by Iceland, with only win in the group stage after drawing with Russia and Slovakia. Tournament winners Portugal progressing to the knockouts as the third of four lucky losers without a single win against Hungary, Iceland and Austria, beating Croatia in extra-time, needing penalties to get past Poland, with the semi-final against Wales (the only team England managed to beat) being their only regulation-time win in the whole tournament as they also beat France in extra time in the final. In the 2014 World Cup England mustered just a single draw against Costa Rica to win their only point of the tournament. In 2010 England were humiliated by Germany in the first knockout round, being eliminated with just a single, one goal victory over Slovenia, after losing to the US and drawing with Algeria in the group stage. The apparent Golden Generation didn't even qualify for Euro 2008, drawing at home to Macedonia, away with Israel, losing away to Russia, and being beaten home and away by Croatia. You can only beat what's put in front of you, and in the 15 matches England have played to first qualify for the tournament and now progress through it, they've won 12, drawn two, and lost just one, that being a non-event final group game with both teams already qualified and rotating their squads heavily. Frankly, it's bollocks to say England have had it easy, because there's no easy way to make it to a World Cup semi-final.