2-0! England See Off Sweden FIFA World Cup

by Samuel Abasi Posted on July 7th, 2018

England will play the winner of Russia-Croatia in the semifinals after beating Sweden 2-0 in the quarterfinals on Saturday July 7th at the Samara Arena in Samara.

Two textbook headers secured England a place in the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 28 years.

Maguire opened scoring for England in the 30th minute with a header from corner kick. The English scored their eighth set-piece goal this tournament when Maguire rose highest to head in Ashley Young’s corner. Harry Maguire is the second England player to have scored his first international goal in the quarter-finals, semi-finals or the final of a World Cup since Alan Mullery (1970 against Germany). he match ended with a score of 1-0 in favor of England, which started by playing rigidly, attacking Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen with nearly incessant strikes.

Dele Alli doubled England’s lead with a header from open play in the 59th minute. A lofted cross from Jesse Lingard found its way to the back post and Dele Alli is all alone. Dele had been weaving between defensive lines in the build-up to his goal, quickly avoiding relinquishing possession to keep the momentum there. When his turn came, Dele Alli positioned himself perfectly and in a split-second guided his header into the net.

Dele’s goal was England’s 11th at Russia 2018, equalling the country’s record of most goals at a single World Cup set in 1966, the first and only edition when they went on to lift the trophy.

England are through to their first World Cup semi-final since 1990.

This was England’s most complete performance of Russia 2018 in what was a highly-credible team effort. Three outstanding saves from Jordan Pickford awarded them their first clean sheet of the tournament.

The Swedes today played in the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 1994. Deprived of their talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the first tournament since 2002, Sweden showed the possibilities and the limits of collectivism with a performance in which they lacked the quality to persistently trouble the English, or even set up a positional attack. They will still cherish their own best placing in the World Cup since 1994.

“We felt like we dominated the ball today, controlled the play. We were a bit too sloppy towards the end of the second half though. We knew what we’d worked on. Set plays were a big thing. The cross from Jesse [Lingard] into Dele [for the second goal], we’d worked on in training, so credit to the staff and players for executing it.” Harry Maguire said at the post game press conference.

“We know there’s still a big game ahead: the semi-final. But we’re feeling good, we’re feeling confident. We just have to go again. I know the fans here, and the fans back home – we’ll see some videos later – are enjoying it. We just want to make the country proud.” England captain, Harry Kane said.

“We always said take each game as it comes, we know our ability and it’s all about our togetherness. If the togetherness is there, which it is always, we control our ability on the pitch. That’s why we won, kept a clean sheet, we work hard as a team.

“This is what football’s all about, being on the big stage. I never put myself under any pressure. I just embrace the moment, play in the moment. I feel strong, nothing fazes me. I just want to be the best I can. Criticism doesn’t affect me it just makes me want to be better.” Man of the Match, Jordan Pickford said.

“I’m not sure anything went wrong as such. We were faced with a really good opponent and we didn’t reach peak performance. The margins are quite small. It’s difficult to create opportunities against a team that is playing a five-man defence. There were very few openings generally from the English side. We were faced with a good team, England were the best team today. It’s not always something goes wrong, sometimes your opponent is better. I have the greatest respect for them, and congratulations to England. Yes I definitely believe England are good enough to win the World Cup. They are forceful, well-organised. I want to pay tribute to the team and the coach. They are a good football side and they don’t give a lot away. I believe that they are perfectly able to go all the way.” Sweden coach Janne Andersson said.

“You can always do things differently, you can always handle things in a different way. The first goal is going to be an important one in a match like this. There’s no question about that. We had an excellent opportunity to score the equalising goal at the beginning of the second half. I think we’ve performed beautifully to get this far, we were faced with tough opponents every single match. I wanted to try and gather all the players out on the pitch after the game, we were sad and disappointed, but we need to remember we put in a good performance. We want to say thank you to all our supporters who came here and supported us in the stadium. That’s what I told my players straight after the match.” Sweden coach Janne Andersson added.

“It’s an incredible privilege to be the England manager anyway, so to be able to take the team this far and knowing the people who have done it in the past, they are people I hold in such high esteem. Before the game, we wanted to be here another week. It’s up to us now which games we play in. I’m so proud of what all of the staff and players have done. We played an opponent whose identity is clear and whose togetherness has at times been too much for us to handle over the years. To come off the back of a game where we’ve had to go to the depths emotionally and physically, it was a real sign of resilience for a young team who are maturing in front of our eyes. We are a team who are still improving, we know where we are. We’re having success because everybody is working so h ard, on the field. We’re also in this position because people who are in the squad like Cahill, Jones, Welbeck, Pope, Butland have been excellent in their mentality, their attitude to support the team. Even if they’ve not had as much game time as they would have liked they’re one of the reasons we are where we are.” England coach, Gareth Southgate said.

“The chance to connect everybody through football and make a difference to how people feel, all of these players come from different parts of the country and there are youngsters at home who come from where the players come from. There’s a big party going on at home, not for us tonight, but the feeling of pride and satisfaction on the pitch at the end was enough for us.”  England coach, Gareth Southgate added.

England will play Croatia or host nation Russia in the second semifinal match in Moscow on Wednesday, and is seeking to reach its first final since it won the World Cup in 1966.

A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.

The teams were divided into  eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups proceeded to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.

Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14.  The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The  11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

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