The mother of popular football mascot Bradley Lowery said England winning their way through to the World Cup semi-final "made an unbearable day bearable" on the anniversary of his death.
Gemma Lowery had earlier wished his spirit on to "help our boys in Russia", and said it was "so fitting that England are playing today" as she shared a picture of her son with manager Gareth Southgate.
Despite his ordeal, Bradley, who suffered from a rare form of childhood cancer, touched the world of football and beyond with his winning smile.
The England squad said they would be thinking of the six-year-old, from Blackhall, County Durham, before they took on Sweden in the World Cup quarter-final, a game they went on to win 2-0.
The official team Twitter posted: "We'll always remember having Bradley lead us out against Lithuania.
"That was an big win on our journey to the #WorldCup, and he was definitely our inspiration that day."
12 gorgeous pictures of Bradley Lowery to mark a year since we said goodbye
Mrs Lowery posted on social media on Saturday: "I'm so happy England have won today it has made an unbearable day bearable.
"Well done to all the lads you played fantastic.
"I can't believe it has been one year since I last had a cuddle, since I last looked and touched your beautiful face and felt your breath."
Bradley was a mascot for England at Wembley when his "best mate" Jermain Defoe scored in a World Cup Qualifier against Lithuania in his comeback game.
Defoe posted a tribute saying he "Can't believe it's been one year since my best friend was taken away".
He added: "I miss you little man, but I still feel u walking with me in spirit every single day.
"You are an inspiration and your legacy will last longer than us all."
The Bradley Lowery Foundation earlier posted: "One year since my boy took his last breath. This has been the toughest of my life but made a little easier with the support I have getting from everyone.
"It is so fitting that England are playing today. Brad go help our boys in Russia."
Bradley's family has launched a Cancer Has No Colours campaign to remember him.