Giblin SAMARA Russia (Xinhua) --
England will look to reach the
semi-finals of the World Cup for the third time in
their history, while the Swedes aim to make it into
the last four for the fifth time when the two teams
meet in the Samara Arena on Saturday for their World
Sweden reached the semis
in 1938, 1950, 1958 (when they were hosts and would
go on to play in the final) and in 1994 in the USA.
The English qualified for the semifinals in 1966,
(when they would win the World Cup on home soil) and
1990, when they endured the heartbreak of losing a
penalty shootout to Germany.
England finally put their penalty jinx behind
them on Tuesday when they beat Colombia and will be
favorites to make it into the last four.
However Sweden produced another typically solid
display to knock Switzerland out of the round of 16
and give England an idea of the task awaiting them.
Swedish coach Janne Andersson will welcome
veteran midfielder Sebastian Larsson back into the
side after a suspension, while central defender
Andreas Granqvist has opted to stay with the squad
even though his wife is expected to give birth at
England have an injury doubt hanging over striker
Jamie Vardy, who picked up a groin injury against
Colombia, but that shouldn’t alter Gareth
Southgate’s starting 11.
Dele Ali also looked to be struggling with his
troublesome left thigh and Southgate will have to
decide whether to risk the attacking midfielder or
to include Ruben Loftus-Cheek or Fabian Delph, who
returned to the squad after his wife gave birth on
The English have been effective from set-pieces,
scoring seven of their nine goals at the tournament
from corners, penalties or free kicks.
They will need to be more clinical in the penalty
area against a rival that showed against the Swiss
that they are totally committed to defending.
Sweden have their base camp in Gelendzhik, where
it is around 10 degrees centigrade hotter than the
England training base near St Petersburg.
That could be a factor if the game goes into
extra time in what promises to be a warm and humid
England vs Sweden quarterfinal could be
Paul Giblin SAMARA
Russia (Xinhua) --
Although England are the favorites to beat Sweden in
their World Cup quarterfinal in Samara on Saturday
afternoon, recent meetings between the two sides
should give the English reasons not to be
Between 1968 and 2011 the two teams have met 12
times and England didn’t win once.
However England won their last competitive
meeting 3-2 in the 2012 European Championships.
Sweden won a rematch 4-2 a month later thanks in
part to a spectacular goal scored by Swedish legend
Looking even further back in time, Sweden has won
seven of the last 20 meetings, nine have been draws
and England has won four times.
The past 26 years will have some painful memories
for England supporters.
In the 1992 European Championships, Sweden fought
back from a goal down to beat England 2-1 in a game
that became infamous for England coach Graham
Taylor’s decision to substitute captain Gary Lineker
with almost half an hour remaining.
It was to be Lineker’s last appearance for his
The two sides met in their opening match of the
2002 World Cup.
Sol Campbell’s header put England into the lead
and Niclas Alexandersson equalizing in the second
Both sides would progress out of a tough group
also containing Argentina and Nigeria.
2006 saw another draw as it finished 2-2 in
Germany; a result tainted for England by a serious
injury to striker Michael Owen which would side-line
him for the rest of the World Cup.
It was not until 2012 that England claimed their
first ever competitive win over the Swedes with late
goals from Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck seeing
England come back from 2-1 down to win 3-2.
So although a look at the two sides that are
likely to play on Saturday implies England has the
better players, a look at the history books shows
that isn’t always the key factor when these two