England are set to take on Sweden in a quarter-final tie, this Saturday at 3 pm GMT, in Samara. The Three Lions are headed into this game full of confidence after a historic penalty shootout win against Colombia. The Swedes ousted Switzerland in a 1-0 victory in the Round of 16.
Sweden v England
Key Men for England
England have a secure three-at-the-back system which has been very effective so far. There is no doubt that Gareth Southgate will stick with the team that faced Colombia, with possibly a few changes. England’s striker, Harry Kane, has stolen the limelight yet again after scoring six goals in the tournament so far and leading the race for the golden boot.
In the midfield, Jesse Lingard has been able to rediscover his winter form, after scoring an outstanding curling effort against Panama and being the creative spark in midfield. Lingard played all 120 minutes in the Round of 16 and England fans will hope he is fully rested up before this quarter-final tie.
In defence, Harry Maguire has become a fan favourite after his determination and passion has won the hearts of many. Despite his lack of experience, Maguire has put in many mature performances whilst marshalling the back line. John Stones has also been a pivotal figure in the back three; he has been effective in staying in position as well as proving an aerial threat in the attack.
Whilst England didn’t have a great performance against Colombia, they will look to bring the same passion and fighting spirit into this tie.
Key Men for Sweden
Sweden have been the dark horses so far in this World Cup and have every chance of being semi-finalists this year. In the attack, it has been a combined effort of Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen who have led the line for the Swedes. Whilst not the most technically gifted strikers, their teammates have been able to play to their strengths and shape their tactics around their height and build.
Prior to the tournament, many would have expected RB Leipzig star Emil Forsberg to be the break out star for Sweden. Whilst his performances were sub-par in the group stages, he came alive and put in a man of the match performance against Switzerland. Forsberg’s skill and creativity will be key in cutting open the English defence. Sweden will try and get their goals on the counter-attack or via set pieces, regardless, Forsberg will play an integral role in the attack as well.
Sweden’s star of the tournament so far has got to be none other than Andreas Grandqvist. The Swedish captain has been excellent at the back and had nerves of steel when stepping up to take penalties. His leadership has been utilised to create an organized and well structured back line that has conceded only two goals in four matches.
The Last Word
In what is set to be an enticing matchup of two European nations, the winner will come down to who wants to win it more. Clinical finishing will be one of the most important determinants of this game, as both sides have proven they can defend, but have relied on spot-kicks and set pieces for many of their goals.
England 2-0 Sweden