5th of July 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
England will be trying to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1990 when they meet Sweden at Cosmos Arena in Samara on Saturday afternoon. The two teams have met at the 2012 European Championship and England won that match 3-2, but Sweden got revenge with a 4-2 friendly victory just a few months later. The two sides drew 2-2 in the group stage of the 2006 World Cup in Germany and they also drew 1-1 at the 2002 World Cup in South Africa. Sweden have not won a competitive match against England since 1998, but England have won just two of the last twelve direct matches in all competitions.
Sweden have not been among the most impressive teams at the 2018 World Cup but they were efficient and determined enough to reach the last eight. They have kept clean sheets in three of their four matches so far and they won all those three matches, including the first knockout round 1-0 victory over Switzerland. Sebastian Larsson missed that match through suspension and will most likely return to the starting eleven, while Mikael Lustig is now suspended after having picked up the second yellow card of the tournament.
England have not managed to keep a clean sheet in any of their four matches so far, but they did well enough to finish second behind Belgium in their group and then to get past Colombia. In fact, the victory over Colombia was a historic one as it was the first time England won a penalty shoot-out at a World Cup after having lost three in a row. The match against Colombia was a pretty tough one and several players have injury problems, including Kyle Walker, Dele Alli and Ashley Young. Striker Jamie Vardy is also an injury doubt ahead of Saturday's game but he was not going to be given a starting berth anyway.
Sweden: Olsen - Krafth, Lindelof, Granqvist, Augustinsson - Claesson, Larsson, Ekdal, Forsberg - Toivonen, Berg
England: Pickford - Walker, Stones, Maguire - Trippier, Loftus-Cheek, Henderson, Lingard, Rose - Kane, Rashford
My prediction: England to win 1-0, the English can't let this opportunity slip away and Sweden don't have enough quality to deny them.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Sweden win - 4.75
Draw - 3.40
England win - 1.90
26th of June 2018
I think Sweden can be happy with how far they came. England was really determined to go through to the last four after all these years.
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