Sweden v England Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
July 04, 2018
Samara Arena - World Cup Quarter-Finals
England face Sweden in the World Cup quarter-finals, having broken their penalty hoodoo to win only their third knockout game since 1990. The Swedes avoided the pain of a shoot-out against Switzerland, getting the job done in the second-half in a closely contested match.
Sweden beat England 4-2 in an friendly back in 2012, in a game memorable for Zlatan Ibrahimovic's long-range bicycle kick that looped over Joe Hart. The forward, left out of Sweden's squad this year, scored all four goals against England that day, who will be grateful for his absence.
Janne Andersson will be able to welcome back Sebastian Larsson, with the former Hull and Sunderland midfielder having missed the last game through suspension. He will, however, have to do without Mikael Lustig after the right-back picked up a second yellow card against Switzerland, with Emil Krafth the likely replacement.
Gareth Southgate's side has managed to avoid suspensions so far, yet the manager will still have a selection dilemma. Dele Alli looked off the pace against Colombia, and has Ruben Loftus-Cheek pushing hard for a start, whilst Raheem Sterling has been far from his best as a second-striker. Southgate fielded the same XI on Tuesday as against Tunisia, and has a lot of faith in his starters, but may decide that fresh legs will benefit the side.
Sweden v England Preview and Predictions
Saturday's fixture promises to be an intriguing encounter, with Sweden having proved themselves a worthy competitor this summer. The Blågult have now contributed to the demise of the Netherlands, Italy and Germany, and to underestimate them would be a serious error.
However, over the last four matches Andersson's side has done little to prove themselves as an attacking entity, instead securing wins through immense defensive strength and rapid, effective counter attacks. If England's game against Colombia is anything to go by, this will likely play into Southgate's hands, with his team far better set up for breaking down stubborn defences than protecting their own goal. However, once Colombia started attacking, England fell apart.
Another issue for the Three Lions may be Sweden's ability at defending set-pieces. With 6 foot four inch Andreas Granqvist defending the box, few teams have succeeded in scoring against the Swedes from corners or free-kicks, whilst their discipline has ensured that they defend fairly. So far in the competition, England have relied heavily on crosses into the box, and benefited from three spot-kicks, which is unlikely to produce against their opponents on Saturday.
In the build up to the game both managers will be contemplating making changes to their starting XI, with Sweden's game plan in particular reliant on speed and stamina. Likewise, Southgate will recognise his opponents physical advantage, and will have a decision to make whether he should attempt to match them by playing the likes of Eric Dier and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, or out-manouve them through Sterling, Alli and Jesse Lingard.
Whatever XI's the managers make, the quarter final is shaping up nicely.
Under 2.5 goals at 1/2
Sweden's defence has been dominant, and England struggled to breach Colombia's back line on Tuesday.
Harry Kane to score anytime at 21/20
The Tottenham forward is two ahead in the hunt for the Golden Boot and will want to increase his lead.