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England and Sweden could produce tense affair in battle for final four | Coastweek
MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- Jamie Vardy [right] of England vies with Yerry Mina of Colombia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup round of 16 match between England and Colombia in Moscow, Russia, July 3, 2018. England won 5-4 (4-3 in penalty shootout) and advanced to the quarter-final. XINHUA PHOTO - BAI XUEQI

England and Sweden could produce
tense affair in battle for final four

By Paul 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 Cup quarterfinal.

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 any moment.

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 Tuesday.

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 Samara evening.


History shows England vs Sweden quarterfinal could be suspenseful

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 overconfident.

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 Zlatan Ibrahimovich.

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 country.

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 half.

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 teams meet.



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