England were given a boost ahead of their crucial World Cup match when the Duke of Sussex declared football was coming home as he met Ireland’s president.

As the country geared up for England’s biggest night of football in decades, Harry helped rally manager Gareth Southgate’s team as they prepared to face Croatia in the semi-final.

The duke, who is visiting Dublin with his wife, was asked by a reporter if “football was coming home” – the chant from the hugely popularly Three Lions anthem.

As Harry and Meghan posed for a picture with President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina, the duke replied laughing “most definitely”.

His tone was more positive than at a garden party at the British ambassador’s residence in Dublin on Tuesday night when he told Irish rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll he was not as confident as everyone else and wanted to avoid jinxing the result.

The duke and duchess met the president and his wife at the statesman’s official residence Aras an Uachtarain, the former British Viceregal lodge in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.

The Duchess of Sussex arrives at Aras an Uactharain Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

They rang a Peace Bell erected in the garden of the grand 18th century house in 2008 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement and toured the grounds with the presidential couple and their two Bernese mountain dogs, Brod and Sioda.

It was their first engagement on the second and final day of their pre-Brexit charm offensive in Ireland, which comes less than a month after Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visited the Emerald Isle.

Harry and Meghan, who was wearing a Roland Mouret dress, were greeted on the portico of the north entrance to Aras an Uachtarain by Art O’Leary, secretary general of the Office of the President.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex rang the Peace Bell in the grounds of Aras an Uachtarain Credit: Julien Behal/PA

Mr O’Leary escorted the visitors to the State Reception Room, via the Francini Corridor, which contains busts of Ireland’s past presidents, mounted on marble columns.