World Cup 2018:
|2018 Fifa World Cup quarter-final: Sweden v England|
|Venue: Samara Area, Samara Date: Saturday 7 July, 15:00 BST|
|Protection: Dwell on BBC One and on-line; full radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 stay and textual content commentary and in-play clips on-line and on BBC Sport app|
England’s gamers will solely be allowed to bask briefly within the afterglow of the historic victory over Colombia that despatched them into the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
Gareth Southgate’s squad have elevated pleasure amongst England followers to fever pitch as they put together to face Sweden after their first knockout stage win at a significant event since 2006, and solely their second penalty shootout win in eight makes an attempt.
As soon as the mud has settled on a thunderous evening in Moscow, England should plot their subsequent step at this unpredictable, spectacular World Cup.
England come again all the way down to earth
England supervisor Southgate and his squad had been straight again all the way down to enterprise at their Zelenogorsk coaching base on Wednesday after that atmospheric evening.
And whereas an England squad that has impressed with its modesty and focus since its arrival in Russia is unlikely to get carried away by the win that despatched them into the World Cup’s final eight, Southgate will know it’s now a case of all eyes on Sweden on Saturday.
England have their finest probability to succeed in this sport’s most prestigious event for the reason that despair of shedding to Germany on penalties within the semi-final in Turin at Italia 90.
Sweden’s latest report confirms that complacency will likely be folly, however there may be additionally no escaping that this group of England gamers – who survived the hothouse of Moscow’s Spartak Stadium because the massed ranks of Colombian followers nearly took over the sector in a blaze of sound and fury – have been offered with what may be a once-in-a lifetime alternative.
The subsequent 10 days in Russia may very well be a case of now or by no means.
The draw, make no mistake, has fallen kindly for England and at present solely Sweden, then Croatia or hosts Russia – all of a sudden driving a wave of nationwide fervour after being dismissed earlier than the event – stand between them and their first World Cup remaining since 1966.
England wouldn’t essentially be favourites to attain the feat, however their title goes alongside three groups they’ll genuinely really feel able to beating. And added intrigue comes with the very fact all of these groups will really feel equally the identical. It’s all up for grabs.
And whereas Southgate’s mantra will proceed to be ‘one sport at a time’, he’ll know that the nation is now daring to dream.
Southgate and his trusted backroom staff may have been sifting via the bodily and psychological toll of that taxing evening in Moscow, which even seasoned observers positioned alongside essentially the most tense England events they’d witnessed.
It was a rigidity gloriously launched as Eric Dier gave England victory having been agonisingly pegged again in added time on the finish of the second half.
Southgate prompt there have been loads of knocks when he likened England’s dressing room to a scene from the well-known American military hospital collection MASH.
He may have gamers with loads of bumps and bruises.
What he can even have is a gaggle of gamers who know that solely two matches stand between England and soccer’s final sport.
England nonetheless have room for enchancment
Southgate is not going to solely take satisfaction from a win that happened in a fashion which defied England’s historical past, however he’ll know there may be extra to come back from his staff regardless of reaching the final eight.
England have nonetheless not hit high type in Russia – an statement some would possibly discover churlish, however one that’s supported by the proof of the 4 video games they’ve performed.
Tunisia had been cussed however restricted and England solely gained in damage time. Panama had been appalling. Belgium confronted England’s shadow squad – and there have been nonetheless instances after they drifted in what was an attritional, argumentative assembly with Colombia.
Harry Kane is the World Cup’s high scorer with six objectives, however as soon as once more it was a penalty that added to his tally. England’s captain has been excellent at this World Cup however he will likely be even higher with extra common service.
Dele Alli struggled and appeared wanting health in Moscow. He’s a category act who will give England what may be a significant additional dimension and risk if he kicks into gear.
And the Raheem Sterling enigma continues. No-one ought to ever query his perspective, effort, utility and pure presents nevertheless it merely is just not taking place for him within the attacking phases, along with his sequence now studying 23 video games with no objective for England.
Southgate, nonetheless, has big religion in Sterling and that’s unlikely to alter now. Certainly, he even questioned why folks had been debating his place in England’s staff earlier than the Colombia last-16 sport.
Southgate will know that if these two gamers of such undoubted expertise can flip the nook – and Sterling may want one second of luck to get the motor operating – England will likely be way more of risk than they’ve been up to now.
Southgate’s key males step up
Southgate’s England choice is tailor-made precisely to match the necessities of the system – based mostly round a three-man defence and progressive wing-backs – he settled upon greater than 12 months in the past.
And, aside from his apparent delight at England’s advance into the quarter-finals, Southgate will take big satisfaction from how his key gamers carried out when the stress was on in Moscow.
Southgate selected Everton’s Jordan Pickford as his goalkeeper, the 24-year-old having youth, agility and talent on his facet – in addition to big confidence with the ball at his ft, a key element of the supervisor’s sport plan.
Pickford delivered beautifully at Spartak Stadium, with a very world-class save from Mateus Uribe that has been considerably ignored as a result of Colombia equalised from the ensuing nook, and that penalty save from Carlos Bacca.
Pickford suffered criticism after his show towards Belgium – together with solutions from Belgium and Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois that he was too small – however he was maybe ring rusty after being nearly unemployed towards Tunisia and Panama. Each query was answered in Moscow.
Harry Maguire is the type of central defender Southgate counts on – highly effective and harmful at set-pieces however with a willingness to deliver the ball out of defence within the method England’s method now calls for.
Maguire had his best sport in an England shirt in Moscow on an evening which was a take a look at of temperament for each participant. He can now take big confidence in his skill to thrive and really feel at dwelling within the World Cup setting.
And what extra will be stated about Kane?
Kane is the primary England participant to attain in six consecutive appearances since Tommy Lawton in 1939. And he will likely be determined to make it seven as he goes seeking the World Cup and the Golden Boot that he focused even earlier than England’s first sport.
Each staff wants their fundamental marksman to operate at a World Cup. England have that and extra in Kane – a dependable scorer, mature chief and a person with the good of temperaments, as proved by his penalties in open play and within the shootout.
All excellent news for Southgate as England transfer into World Cup territory that has been uncharted for 12 years.
England should beware the cool Swedes
England now face a well-recognized foe in Sweden – a staff some could really feel have risen with out hint at this World Cup however whose latest report carries warning alerts and calls for full respect.
One long-time Sweden follower described this squad as humble, hard-working, beautifully organised beneath the astute coach Janne Andersson and absolutely united because the charismatic Zlatan Ibrahimovic affords his observations from the sidelines.
Sweden are defensively sound and often function a 4-4-2 formation. Andreas Granqvist is their captain and central defensive basis alongside Victor Lindelof, who has belied his struggles at Manchester United along with his performances in Russia, demonstrating why Jose Mourinho was so eager to accumulate him.
Additionally they have creativity from Emil Forsberg, however base camp for Sweden is a well-drilled and disciplined method that England will discover troublesome to interrupt down.
They’ve the arrogance of eliminating the Netherlands in qualifying and beating Italy in a play-off to succeed in Russia. It is a staff with out concern of enjoying the elite names of worldwide soccer.
Sweden’s weak point is a scarcity of punch in assault, the place 32-year-old Ola Toivonen is just not even an everyday at his membership Toulouse. Markus Berg, who performs his soccer within the United Arab Emirates, is erratic.
As ever, although, Sweden’s energy is the staff collective and, beneath Andersson, will current England with a critical problem in Samara.