Confident England take on plucky Sweden

Jul 11, 2018, 02:28
Confident England take on plucky Sweden

England manager Gareth Southgate said his side was "not the finished article" after qualifying for the country's first World Cup 2018 semi-final appearance since 1990 with a 2-0 victory over Sweden on Saturday.

Denis Cheryshev's swerving left-footer from the edge of the box had opened the scoring for Russian Federation in the 31st minute of normal time but an unmarked Andrej Kramaric headed in a cross from Mario Mandzukic eight minutes later to restore parity.

Sweden had reached the quarter-finals by making life hard for supposedly superior opponents and it was easy to see why after a dour opening when England looked incapable of stringing passes together against their hardworking opponents.

England produced a solid display against Sweden on Saturday and even though captain Harry Kane failed to add to his six goal tally, Maguire and Alli stepped up to take England forward.

"His use of the ball is as good any centre-back in the tournament". It's always nice to score, but, more importantly we're through to the next round.

England's three goals from set pieces is the most at the tournament.

"We know in years to come they're going to be stronger".

"We were composed, we controlled the game". "We've spent a lot of time together, we all get on very well".

Gareth Southgate's side recorded a comfortable victory over a limited Sweden side to set up a game against either Russian Federation or Croatia for a place in the World Cup final.

John Stones, Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling all started the clash in Samara, as Southgate named an unchanged side from the one that defeated Colombia on penalties in the last 16. Rather than square the ball up, Sterling opted to try and break his near three year goal drought, but couldn't finish.

Harry Kane says he and his England "brothers" are prepared to do whatever is required as they continue to chase their World Cup dream. "It's coming home", said Jones. Robin Olsen and Victor Lindelof had impressive performances but it wasn't enough.

Before England's second goal Sweden missed a golden opportunity to level right after the restart but Pickford, who was named man of the match, made an outstanding save, palming Marcus Berg's close-range header away.

However, he improved as the game went on and got England's second goal to set them up for a place in the semi-finals.