Russia 2018: England Reach Semi-finals, Beats Sweden 2-0

It’s two! And it all looks far too easy from and England perspective. Dele Alli introduces himself to the 2018 World Cup, peeling away at the back post to head home Jesse Lingard’s inch-perfect cross.

MATCH STATS

  • England have qualified for their third World Cup semi-final, also reaching that stage in 1966 and 1990.
  • Sweden have lost three of their last four matches against England (W1), since a run of 12 consecutive matches without defeat against them between 1979 and 2006.
  • This was England’s first win in a knockout match in a major tournament in 90 minutes since beating Ecuador in the last 16 at the 2006 World Cup.
  • Six of England’s last 11 goals against Sweden have been scored via headers, all from different players (Sol Campbell, Steven Gerrard, Gareth Barry, Andy Carroll, Harry Maguire and Dele Alli).
  • England – who scored with both shots on target in this match – have found the net with 10 of their last 13 shots on target at the 2018 World Cup.
  • England have scored 11 goals in a World Cup tournament for only the second time, also doing so in their victorious year of 1966.
  • Dele Alli is the second youngest player to score for England at the World Cup (22y 87d), behind only Michael Owen (18y 190d against Romania in 1998).
  • Harry Maguire scored his first goal for England, and in doing so became the first player to score their first England goal in a World Cup knockout match since Rio Ferdinand in 2002 against Denmark.
  • Jordan Pickford made three saves in this match and kept a clean sheet, making him the youngest England goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in a World Cup match (24y 122d).
  • England have scored eight goals via set pieces at the 2018 World Cup, the most by a team at a World Cup tournament since Portugal in 1966 (also eight).

GOAL! SWEDEN 0-1 ENGLAND (Maguire, 30)

BANG! England take the lead in emphatic fashion as Harry Maguire rises high to power an Ashley Young corner into the back of the Swedish goal. The set piece specialists strike again, as Maguire scores his first international goal, and what a time for it!

England are playing a line of four in attack. Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane are up front, but Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard look as if they are playing up there with them.

EMPTY SEATS?

Indications have emerged that there could be as many as 10,000 empty seats for today’s clash at the Samara Arena. Yes, you read that right, 10,000!

The stadium has a capacity of 42,000 but only 32,000 tickets have been sold, officially 2,836 to England fans and 3,000 to Sweden fans.

It’s a shame more people can’t be there to see the game in person but it’s going to take a lot more than that to dampen the optimism and excitement that has England and Sweden gripped at the moment.

 

ENGLAND TEAM NEWS

Starting XI: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Trippier, Lingard, Henderson, Alli, Young, Sterling, Kane.

England are unchanged from the side who beat Colombia – Ashley Young and Kyle Walker both overcame minor problems which weren’t expected to keep them out anyway.

Jamie Vardy is fit enough to be named on the bench despite a groin injury

 

ENGLAND EXPECTANT

So England are preparing for their biggest game in over a decade as they face Sweden for a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

The Three Lions have not reached the last eight of the World Cup since 2006, where defeat by Portugal on penalties in Germany marked the start of a period of underachievement.

But Gareth Southgate’s side now have the country believing that football is on its way home following their dramatic shootout win over Colombia in the last 16.

Now a first World Cup semi-final appearance since the heroics of Italia ’90 is just 90 minutes away for the current crop of English talent. Can they keep the nation dreaming?

SWEDEN TEAM NEWS

Starting XI: Olsen, Krafth, Lindelof, Granqvist, Augustinsson, Larsson, Ekdal, Forsberg, Claesson, Berg, Toivonen.

Sweden make two changes – both of which were expected. Right-back Mikael Lustig is suspended so Emil Krafth replaces him. And Sebastian Larsson is back from a ban so he takes the place of Gustav Svensson.

SPOTLIGHT ON SWEDEN

Sweden stand in between England and a place in the World Cup semi-finals but their record against the Swedes does not make good reading, with just two victories in 15 games.

Janne Andersson’s side beat Switzerland in the last 16, and are looking to reach the last four for the first time since 1994.

Sweden’s strengths will undoubtedly come from their defence, which has conceded only two goals in the whole tournament so far – the lowest of any of the remaining nations, with both coming in their 2-1 defeat to Germany in the group stages.

Sweden are the lowest scorers in the tournament too, having scored six goals in four games to date.

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