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Harry Kane suggests 'England team are like a band of brothers'

SAMARA Russia (Xinhua) -- England captain Harry Kane currently leads the race to claim the converted Golden Boot award for the top scorer in the 2018 World Cup.

However he isn’t thinking about personal glory but the good of the team as a whole.

"We are like family, we all get on very well together, there is trust and the other night (against Colombia) has made us stronger and we are even more proud of each other," said the 24-year old.

"I look at them as my brothers and I know we’d do anything for each other," said Kane, who had a warning for England’s quarter-final rivals, Sweden.

"We are hungry for more.

"If we can win in 90 minutes, great, but if we have to go through extra time and penalties we’re ready for it.

"We’ll do anything to win," he said, once again putting the good of the team before the individual success of winning the Golden Boot.

"It’s been a great campaign so far, but for me the job is to help the team as much as possible, with or without the ball.

"The full focus is on helping the team," insisted Kane.

The England captain also discussed the morale boost to England after Tuesday’s win against Colombia on penalties; the first time England have won a game in the knockout tournament in 12 years and the first time they have ever won a penalty shootout in the World Cup finals.

"It’s massive; we’ve had so much heartache in shootouts, so to overcome that is very important and it will give us huge belief if we are in that moment again," he said

Kane admitted Saturday would be a major challenge against a Swedish side that has one of the best defenses in the tournament.

"They are defensively very strong and very compact, they’ve had great results, and that’s as a team, they don’t have standout individual, but they all stay together.

"It’s been shown over this tournament that all that matters is you work hard, have belief as a team and stick together.

"People will say we have better individuals and play for bigger clubs, but that doesn’t matter, it depends on how you play as a team.

"Sweden have been fantastic," he concluded.


England coach Gareth Southgate: We are still far from perfect

SAMARA Russia (Xinhua) -- England coach Gareth Southgate wants his players to carry on their learning experience when they take on Sweden in the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Saturday.

England’s win on penalties against Colombia on Tuesday has given England the chance to qualify for the semifinals of the competition for the first time since 1990, but Southgate told the press in his pre-game conference there is still work to do.

"We are one of the youngest teams here, but we are an improving side and want to make history," commented Southgate, who listed his side’s achievements in reaching the last 8

"We have got our first knockout win in 12 years and had the first Wold Cup (penalty) shootout win (against Colombia), and we want to go on making history," he said.

Southgate said his players were not getting carried away by their success and looking too far ahead, saying there was "nothing" in mind, "other than tomorrow’s game."

"You are never as good as people say you are when things are going well, and never as poor as they say when things are going badly.

"We are an emerging side, an evolving side: a long way from perfect," he said.

The England coach was expecting a difficult game against a Swedish side which has shown it has one of the best defenses in the tournament.

"They are a very strong team; I’ve been in matches against Sweden (as a player) and they always have a strong identity, they have better players than people give them credit for and this team is no different.

"You only have to look at their results," he said, highlighting Sweden’s organization.

"We know the challenge we face in trying to create chances.

"I think we will have more of the ball tomorrow, but Sweden have shown they can have 30 percent possession and still win games," warned Southgate.

Vardy unlikely to face Sweden after missing training on Friday

Paul Giblin SAMARA Russia (Xinhua) -- England striker Jamie Vardy was unable to take part in his side’s training session on Friday morning and is therefore unlikely to be available for their World Cup quarter-final against Sweden in the Samara Arena on Saturday evening.

Vardy suffered a slight groin injury after entering England’s last 16 tie against Colombia as a late second half substitute on Tuesday and was unable to take the penalty he was expected to take in their dramatic shootout win over the South American side, ceding the decisive final kick to midfielder Eric Dier.

The Leicester City forward has been unable to train since Tuesday, although the fact he was able to participate in the warm-up session with the rest of the squad on Friday suggests he could be available for the semi-finals if England progress.

Vardy’s absence is unlikely to affect the England starting 11 on Saturday, with Harry Kane, who has scored six goals in this World Cup, expected to lead the attack, but it could give a chance to Danny Welbeck, who has so far only played 11 minutes as a substitute in England’s 1-0 defeat to Belgium in their final Group G match.

England’s other minor injury doubts (Dele Ali and Ashley Young) were able to take part in Friday’s training and are both expected to start in Samara.



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