Sweden Vs England Preview: European face-off to secure World Cup semi-final berth
Written by: K.Koushik Venkatesh
The Blagult have been one of the most solid defensive units in the tournament this year.
With a nail-biting finish against Colombia, The England have finally won a knockout fixture in the World Cup for the first time since 2006. Gareth Southgate’s men led the Colombians for the majority of the game, but a Yerry Mina header meant that they would have to go through penalties and the Three Lions had finally won a penalty shoot-ut.
Sweden played out a very laborious game against Switzerland. Both the teams were struggling to crack each other’s defence and even though Switzerland saw a lot of possession in the match, Sweden held tight and braced through after a deflected shot by Emil Forsberg found the back of the net.
The two teams face-off in what looks likely to be a very defensive-minded fixture and with the competition progressing further, we can expect more teams to se up tighter at the back.
About The Teams
Sweden faced some of the biggest teams on their road to the World Cup. They faced a top-drawer France side, Netherlands and also facilitated in denying Italy a chance to participate in the World Cup. Sweden have been a very resilient side and have qualified for the quarterfinals after a long wait of 24 years. The Sweden side without Zlatan Ibrahimovic have an edge to them, that everyone assumed they would lack.
The team is a good mix of young talent coupled with great maturity and experience. Sweden’s biggest strength is their defence. Their tall and strong backline lead by Andreas Granqvist have been rock-solid so far in the tournament and have conceded just two goals. Forsberg and Viktor Claesson have been superb down the wings and their supply to the big men upfront in Ola Toivonen and Marcus Berg makes for a lethal combination.
Harry Kane’s troops have had a great tournament so far with this newlook and young squad. The team has been a bag of talent all over the pitch and every player has come out to prove their mettle, which shows in their performance. The team rises and falls together and this kind of togetherness has been a breath of fresh air for the side. England’s gameplay has still been cagey. but this is more or less thanks to their opponents, who have sat back and put 10 men behind the ball.
England’s undoing so far in this tournament has been their creativity. Dele Alli who has been playing in the #10 position for the Three Lions has not played to his fullest potential and this is evident as England majorly lack creativity in the midfield and are having to look elsewhere for their goals. Set-pieces have been their biggest strength in this tournament and Sweden will have to be on high-alert whilst defending these. England will have to work doubly hard against this Swedish defence to grab this fixture from them and will also have to be wary of Sweden’s aerial threat.
The match will be held at the Samara Arena and it has previously hosted five other World Cup games. The stadium’s capacity stands at 41,970. One of the most notable games was the Round of 16 fixture between Brazil and Mexico.
Sweden: Olsen, Lustig, Lindelof, Granqvist, Augustinsson, Claesson, Svensson, Ekdal, Forsberg, Berg, Toivonen.
What To Expect
Both the teams are a huge aerial threat and have scored a lot of their goals thanks to their physicality. Both the teams also have a big man upfront leading their attack and the similarities are endless here. With both the teams expected to setup defensively, the match will most likely be decided on deadball situations.
Khel Now Predicts
Sweden 1 – 2 England
Published: Fri Jul 06, 2018 03:38 PM IST