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Big Match Breakdown: Sweden v England

Richard Marsh | 7 July 2018

Three Lions eye a semi-final spot

It’s been 28 years since England reached the World Cup semi-finals, but they could end that run if they can beat Sweden today.

Gareth Southgate’s men saw off Colombia on penalties to claim a place in the quarter-finals for the first time since 2006.

Now they face a Swedish side who have shown tremendous team ethos and discipline. It should be a fascinating encounter with both sides fancying their chances.

Here’s the big match breakdown for the huge game in Samara…

Head-to-Head

England and Sweden have met plenty of times over the years – 24 times, in fact. Results have been pretty even with eight English wins versus seven for the Swedes.

It’s worth noting though that the Swedes have lost only two of the last 15 meetings.

The pair are frequent foes in recent tournaments too. They drew 1-1 in the 2002 World Cup and 2-2 in 2006. They also met in the 2012 Euros with the Three Lions prevailing that day 3-2.

Likely XIs

Gareth Southgate has a clear picture of his preferred XI, but he faces numerous albeit minor injury concerns after a bruising encounter with Colombia.

It looks like Ashley Young will be replaced by Danny Rose, although Harry Kane should be fit. Dele Alli is a bigger concern however, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek ready to step in. The same goes for Marcus Rashford should Southgate choose to drop Raheem Sterling.

The rest of the squad should be the same to that which started against Tunisia and Colombia.

For Sweden, they’ve gone old-school throughout the tournament in a 4-4-2. Ola  Toivanen and Marcus Berg bring power and presence up front.

Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof will partner Andreas Granqvist at centre-half. Sebastian Larsson will return to the fold after missing the quarter-final win over Switzerland through suspension.

Emil Forsberg will be one to watch on the left side of midfield.

Key Battles

This game won’t be full of flowing football and attacking switch-play. This will be a tactically astute encounter between two sides who enjoy maximising set-pieces.

Sweden’s 4-4-2 will be out to stifle the movement of Lingard, Alli and Sterling. Should that work, England will need Trippier and Rose to find space down the wings.

At the other end, the partnership of Toivonen and Berg could trouble Stones at the back if Maguire and Walker don’t hold their line.

Expect set-pieces to be a vital outlet for both sides. The referee and VAR could come into play.

Match Odds

Coral traders have England as odds-on to win in 90 minutes at 10/11. Sweden are 18/5 to end the Three Lions’ quest, with a draw 21/10.

It’s a similar story in the odds for progression. Kane and co are given odds-on status at 4/9, with the Swedes 9/5.

This one could be cagey, which is why under 2.5 goals is 4/9.

Will Sweden be able to stop England’s captain? Kane has scored six times in this World Cup, and is 13/5 favourite to open the scoring.

Berg leads the way to the Scandinavian outfit at 7/1 first goalscorer.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing