England head into a World Cup quarter-final match as clear favourites

Last updated: July 6, 2018 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Saturday, 15:00pm
Venue: Samara Arena
Coverage: BBC 1
Home Team Form: WWWLW
Away Team Form: DWLWW
Last Meeting: Sweden 4 – 2 England
Competition: FIFA World Cup

Yes, you read the headline right. England have made it to the quarter-finals of the World Cup finals in Russia, by way of winning their first penalty shoot-out in a World Cup no less. Not only that, but the Three Lions will go into the match as clear favourites with the bookies. The opposition – Sweden.

As fans and players alike collect themselves, the omens look good for England to reach the semi-finals. The passage to the match was tough however and it’s likely that every player that took part will be nursing some knocks and bruises. Colombia, lacking their talisman James Rodriguez, set out to niggle and frustrate England, with un-sportsman like tackles and behaviour incensing the England players. The game heading into extra-time and then penalty shoot-outs won’t have helped either. Deli Alli, Ashley Young and Jamie Vardy appear to be the casualties who could miss out on this match.

But, as we said, England are favourites. They were clearly the better team against Colombia and should once again set out to take the initiative. But this will be a different type of match. Sweden are slower, but more organised than Colombia. Alli is unlikely to feature and Southgate may ponder replacing him with Rashford alongside Sterling and Kane to form a lightning quick three pronged attack to exploit this. Loftus-Cheek would be a more like-for-like replacement. Sweden have three clean sheets from their four games so far, so breaking them down is clearly not easy. That perhaps doesn’t inspire too much confidence, especially when you consider England have scored just twice from open play so far. However, in Harry Kane, England have the tournament’s top scorer. At the other end, the heroics of Jordan Pickford in England’s first World Cup penalty shoot-out win will not quickly be forgotten. Is it coming home? Win again here and it just might be.

England fans will fancy their team winning against Sweden, but the Swedes have surely now done enough to prove that they deserve to be here. Topping a group containing Germany and Mexico and beating Switzerland is no easy feat. But the Swedes strong record stretches back much further. Emerging from a qualifying group containing France and Holland to reach the playoffs, Sweden famously saw off Italy over two legs to book their place at this World Cup.

England will probably not underestimate Sweden as Mexico and Switzerland have done. Organisation and discipline is key to Sweden’s approach and without Zlatan Ibrahimović the team is much more unified. The cohesion the team has developed perhaps stems from not having a star man and it is seen mostly in the team’s defence. Andreas Granqvist has been fantastic all tournament and keeps the backline in check. That backline will be without Mikael Lustig however. Lustig is another who has impressed for Sweden, but his yellow card late into the match against Switzerland means he must sit out this match. England can look to exploit that, but Sweden won’t give much away. Up-front, Emil Forsberg is the creator and Marcus Berg leads the line. Those two have combined to devastating effect so far and will be the danger men that England will have to pay particular attention to. Sweden come into the match ranked as the underdogs just as they have been for almost every match they’ve played. That won’t matter one iota to them though. The Swedes will have – and stick to – a game plan and England should underestimate them at their peril.

Team News

England have a number of players with niggles. Deli Alli is the most likely to be rested after the thigh injury that ruled him out of a group stage match seems to have returned.

Jamie Vardy and Ashley Young have minor injuries, while Kyle Walker had severe cramp at the end of the Colombia match. Danny Rose could come in for Young should Southgate not want to risk the defender.

Sweden will be without the impressive Mikael Lustig who is suspended.

Sebastian Larsson missed the Switzerland match via suspension but he is once again available and will likely return to the starting lineup.

Expected Line-Ups:

England (3-5-2): Pickford, Rose, Maguire, Stones, Walker, Henderson, Trippier, Lingard, Rashford, Sterling, Kane
Subs: Young, Dier, Vardy, Butland, Welbeck, Cahill, Jones, Alli, Loftus-Cheek, Alexander-Arnold, Pope
Doubtful: Vardy, Young, Alli
Not available:
Sweden (4-4-2): Olsen, Krafth, Lindelöf, Granqvist, Augustinsson, Claesson, Svensson, Ekdal, Forsberg, Berg, Toivonen
Subs: Olsson, Guidetti, Johnsson, Helander, Larsson, Hiljemark, Jansson, Rohdén, Durmaz, Thelin, Nordfeldt
Not available: Lustig

Head to Head

Last 5 Competitive Meetings Between The Sides
Date Game Result Round First Goal-scorer
14/11/2012 Sweden 4 – 2 England International Friendly Ibrahimović 20′
15/06/2012 Sweden 2 – 3 England UEFA European Championship Carroll 23′
15/11/2011 England 1 – 0 Sweden International Friendly Barry 23′
20/06/2006 England 2 – 2 Sweden FIFA World Cup Cole 34′
31/03/2004 Sweden 1 – 0 England International Friendly Ibrahimović 54′

Conclusion & Betting Tips

Sweden are big underdogs at the bookies. England are favourites and rightly so, but Sweden have proved time and time again they have what it takes to do away with any team.

That said, Sweden will have problems handling England’s quality in attack over the full 90 minutes. Sweden defend resolutely and will be capable of repelling attack after attack, but we see England breaking them down eventually. Both these teams have been drawing at half-time in three of their four games and we think this will be the case here. A half-time/full-time England bet would be a great shout for those looking for big win, but a safer bet would likely be under 2.5 goals or an England win plus under 2.5 goals. You can get these bets and more at 10bet