We’re still trying to figure out if England is any good or if Sweden is as good as its results suggest. Our World Cup 2018 quarterfinal England vs Sweden prediction for their match on Saturday in Samara takes into account what both teams have and have not accomplished so far, as a team that’s beaten up on some really bad teams will go head-to-head with a team that made it through the Group of Death.
England Vs Sweden Prediction World Cup 2018: Team News, Tactics And Preview
No one would have believed it two weeks ago, but England reached the quarterfinals by way of a — wait for it — penalty kick shootout. It was England’s first shootout victory in World Cup play after a record three defeats.
While the Three Lions broke their shootout curse, they advanced past a Colombia team that lacked its talisman, James Rodriguez. England was the better team, but it took a questionable penalty to score against Los Cafeteros.
In the group stage, England edged Tunisia 2-1 with two goals off corner kicks and pounded puny Panama 6-1. The Three Lions won by losing to Belgium 1-0 to be placed on the easier side of the bracket.
Of England’s nine goals, only one was any good, Jesse Lingard’s lashing shot against Panama. There have been four set-piece goals, three penalty kicks and an unexpected deflection off Kane.
Sweden meanwhile edged South Korea 1-0 before a tough, late loss to Germany. The Blågult then crushed Mexico 3-0 to unexpectedly win the Group of Death. They beat Switzerland 1-0 in the Round of 16.
Sweden has beaten three teams better than anyone England has beaten (taking into account James’ injury). But few would suggest Sweden has more overall talent than England.
Can the solidity of the Blågult overcome the growing confidence of the Three Lions?
England Team News, Injuries And Suspensions
Gareth Southgate will have his full team available for selection, but Dele Alli could be a question. The Spurs midfielder struggled against Colombia, which may have been down to a groin injury he’s been dealing with.
Sweden Team News, Injuries And Suspension
Defender Mikael Lustig will be suspended against England for picking up his second yellow card of the tournament against Switzerland. But vice captain Sebastian Larsson will return to the midfield after sitting out the Round of 16 with yellow card accumulation.
England Key Players
Jordan Pickford (GK): The Everton keeper has proven he’s more than just a strong shot-stopper for a bad team — he’s a strong shot-stopper for a good team. Pickford was the hero of the Round of 16 match against Colombia, making a huge save on Mateus Uribe and then making two saves in the shootout.
Jordan Pickford. What a save pic.twitter.com/tJ8fjfwrej— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) July 3, 2018
Harry Kane (ST): This guy keeps defying all preconceptions of what an English striker is. For starters, he’s 4 for 4 on penalty kicks during the World Cup and has six goals in four World Cup matches, making him the frontrunner for the Golden Boot. If England gets another penalty on Saturday, expect the Tottenham striker to bury it.
Jordan Henderson (MF): The best defense England played against so far was Belgium and the Three Lions couldn’t score in that match. The biggest question mark for this England team is if it has the guile to break down the most defensive-minded of teams, a category Sweden headlines. Henderson will be given a lot of opportunities on the ball and he’ll need to do more than just spray passes out wide to the wing backs.
Sweden Key Players
Marcus Berg (FW): This is the guy who was chosen to lead the line for Sweden over Zlatan Ibrahimovic. And while it would be hard to argue with the cohesion the team has developed without Zlatan, Berg has yet to come through at the World Cup. Despite pouring in eight goals in 11 World Cup qualifiers, the striker has no goals on 13 shots (six on target) in Russia.
Emil Forsberg (LM): The RB Leipzig creator finally scored his first World Cup goal against Switzerland, though it took a wicked deflection to get it. He’ll have to lead the counterattack and perhaps produce more end product than we’ve seen from him thus far this tournament.
Andreas Granqvist (CB): The leader of this Swedish side, Granqvist does it all. He’s buried two penalty kicks and organizes the back line. He’ll have his hands full with the forwards England will throw at him, so the 33-year-old will need to be on the top of his game.
England vs Sweden Prediction
England 1-0 Sweden
Sweden has been one of the most impressive teams at the tournament so far, but England just seems to be on a magic run right now — how else do you explain winning a penalty kick shootout?
I expect Harry Kane to convert another penalty kick and for Three Lions fans to get so excited about their first trip to the semifinals since 1990 that the pain of losing to Russia in the semifinals will be irreversibly crushing.