England v Sweden: Three Lions to continue roaring or a shock in waiting?

England squad
England squad

England have never found it easy playing Sweden but what are these set of three Lions, if not history rewriters. After winning a first ever penalty shootout in their World Cup history, they will believe there is a good chance to win the World Cup again after potential winners like Argentina, Brazil, and Germany are no longer around.

Sweden have made it this far without convincing anyone they can go all the way – but that is their way. Pragmatic, solid and unpretentious, the Swedes have only conceded two goals at Russia 2018 and have scored six – three coming from the penalty spot by their captain and leader, Andreas Granqvist.

Will injuries and suspensions play a part in determining the result?

Sebastian Larsson returns after a one-game ban but Sweden have lost the experienced Mikael Lustig to a one-match ban with Emil Krafth expected to come in while England have Kyle Walker, Dele Alli, Jaime Vardy, and Ashley Young as injury doubts.

Head to head [Last 5]

Wed 14/11/12 FRI Sweden 4 – 2 England

Fri 15/06/12 EUC Sweden 2 – 3 England

Tue 15/11/11 FRI England 1 – 0 Sweden

Tue 20/06/06 WOC Sweden 2 – 2 England

Wed 31/03/04 FRI Sweden 1 – 0 England

Current Form [Last 5 matches]

England         2 – 0    Costa RicaSweden         0 – 0    Peru
Tunisia                        1 – 2           EnglandSweden         1 – 0    Korea Rep.
England         6 – 1    PanamaGermany       2 – 1    Sweden
England         0 – 1    BelgiumMexico           0 – 3    Sweden
Colombia      1 - 1 P EnglandSweden         1 – 0    Switzerland

Three duels to watch

Harry Kane v Andreas Granqvist

With six goals, Kane is a threat to any defence and Granqvist will need to be at his best to keep the England captain quiet.

Kyle Walker v Emil Forsberg

Walker, as part of a three-man defensive lineup, has been known to have the odd lapse in concentration or rush of blood to the head. He cannot afford any slip against Forsberg, who is beginning to show why there has been a buzz around him.

Raheem Sterling v Sebastian Larsson

Sterling has not scored in Russia but his movement and speed near opposition boxes have given Kane and the other offensive players channels to exploit. Larsson, with all his experience, will be expected to concentrate and shackle.

Quotes to Ponder

“We want to make people proud back home. The dream is there, so why not?” – John Stones, England Defender

“We are going to do this together as a team.” – Andreas Granqvist, Sweden Captain

Stadium: Cosmos Arena in Samara holds about 45,000 people. The most characteristic aspect of the Cosmos Arena is its 65.5 metres high dome roof, which is made up out of 32 panels. Today’s match will be the sixth and final match of Russia 2018 to be hosted at the Arena.

Referee in charge: The experienced 45-year-old Bjorn Kuipers has been a FIFA-graded referee since 2006 but this is his first World Cup. He has been in charge of three matches at Russia 2018; Egypt-Uruguay, Brazil-Costa Rica, and Spain-Russia, in which he has shown eight yellow card and one red card. He has also awarded one penalty, the one to Russia against Spain.

World Cup fact: Sweden last made the World Cup semifinal in 1994, while England’s last semifinal foray was in 1990.

Prediction: England 3-1 Sweden


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