THIRTEEN months ago England were shaken. Now they are stirred.

The tremor which shook them at Hampden Park, not once but twice via the foot of Leigh Griffiths, threatened to change the narrative for the auld rivalry between Scotland and our neighbours on the other side of Gretna motorway services for a generation. Almost identical free-kicks from the Celtic striker turned a World Cup qualifier between the two on its head, causing the very foundations to shift as the roar of 45,000 Scottish souls reverberated through the national stadium.

But then came a late Harry Kane leveller and, now, 13 months later it is the Scotland fans who are shifting uncomfortably in their seats as England threaten to rock the footballing world.

It’s the likes of which many a Tartan Army foot soldier would have hoped they’d never see again. The year 1966 will be forever synonymous with tales of joy south of the border and stories of broken radios north of it. It’s fair to say the stories about lifting the World Cup have come up a few times since. Fifty two years on, Gareth Southgate’s team stand two matches away from replicating the incredible achievement of the great Alf Ramsey’s side.

The narrative of this incredible World Cup changed yesterday in the Samara Arena. Group stage wins against Tunisia and Panama provided little measure of the might at Southgate’s disposal, the defeat to a second-string Belgium side for his own second string line-up equally offering little cause for concern. Against a blunt Colombia, the hoodoo of never winning a World Cup penalty shootout was eventually broken but even that was tempered by the knowledge the game should have been long out of sight before a ball was placed on a spot.

Yesterday’s 2-0 victory was different. Again England were dominant, but there was no chance this Swedish outfit were ever going to deny their opponents a place in the last four in Russia. For all that the Swedes were hapless, it is to the credit of Southgate, his backroom staff and his players that a side which had hammered Mexico 3-0, defeated South Korea and Switzerland and was robbed of a point against Germany were made to look so ordinary.

"We knew it was going to be such a different game from the other night, to come back having had extra-time and penalties, with the emotions of it to lift ourselves through a completely different test," said Southgate.

"It was always a scrappy game where we had to withstand a lot of physical pressure, but the resilience of the team and togetherness of the team was crucial.

"I can’t speak highly enough of the whole squad and whole group of staff because it is so united in there. The level of work has been great and their commitment to each other, you don't get through with just 11 players. They are all top people and are the reason we are in the semi-final just as much as any other."

And in those few sentences uttered at the height of euphoria lies the key to this England side’s success. Togetherness.

Quality has never been in short supply for England over the generations, even the most diehard Scot would concede to that. They've had Gary Lineker, Terry Butcher, Paul Gascoigne, Alan Shearer, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard – and you could go on. But as the years trundled by and the pressure mounted, English football's so-called golden generation failed to equal the sum of their parts.

The lowering of expectations has helped create the right culture for this group to thrive. And under the guidance of Southgate, a young dynamic coach who has a habit of rarely putting a foot wrong on the managerial tightrope as the circus comes to town, an England side that didn’t lose a game in qualifying stands as credible a contender to lift the trophy as any left in the tournament. Jings.

While one Harry may be the tournament’s top scorer, it was the squad's other – Leicester City centre-half Harry Maguire – who thundered a header to strike the first blow against the Swedes yesterday on 30 minutes. Janne Andersson's pedestrian outfit did not have the wherewithal to respond in the opening half.

By the time Dele Alli did likewise midway through the second half, Southgate’s composure threatened to be lost as even this modest man knew a semi-final place was England’s. Instead, the dapper chap in the tailored waistcoat kept a lid on it through a brief flurry of top saves from Jordan Pickford as his team eventually strolled over the line.

All eyes now turn to Wednesday but England will not blink first. Far from the beast of bluster it was at the turn of the century, Southgate has reinvented this side mixed with honest pros and genuine world-class stars with the likes of Kane into a functional footballing machine capable of great things.

We are 13 months on from Hampden, and 13 World Cups on from 1966. Thirteen may be unlucky for some, but it may not be for England. And if you don’t like the sound of that, best go bubblewrap the radio and keep the telly switched off a week today.