Sweden vs England – Saturday, July 7, 15:00BST/16:00CEST/17:00 MSK – Samara Arena, Samara, Russia
There are no secrets on how Sweden play. The Blågult always use the same tactical formation. Organised in a 4-2-2-2 the Swedes are tactically sound and play a destructive brand of football that at times looks boring.
“Our play fits the players we have. I hope that we can develop towards playing a more attractive brand of football but we are not there yet”, head coach Janne Andersson explained to the press on Wednesday. “We become vulnerable when we play a more attacking brand of football. It isn’t about dominating possession but what we do with the ball”, Andersson added.
The match against Switzerland was the prime-example for Sweden’s game plan. Sweden allowed Switzerland most of the possession but closed the centre of the park forcing their opponent to operate on both flanks. From there Switzerland was forced to play crosses into the box where Sweden’s tall defenders had an easy time to clear any dangerous situation.
“We always stand at the right position. It is challenging to play against us”, Albin Ekdal told the German magazine kicker. “We feel very secure about our game,” forward Marcus Berg added.
For England, Sweden is, therefore, a very different test than Colombia was in the round of 16. The South Americans looked shaky in midfield without superstar James Rodríguez and allowed the Three Lions plenty of room to operate in. At the same time, England had only one convincing chance throughout the 120 minutes – Harry Kane’s penalty goal.
Sweden will be even more disciplined than Colombia. “I have enormous respect. [Sweden] are often underestimated. But they have a clear plan, and it will be very difficult,” England manager Gareth Southgate explained to the media.
Following England’s first ever penalty shootout victory at a World Cup, there is now a sense, however, that nothing can stop this Three Lions side. “It is coming home”, is one of the most used slogans on social media at the moment.
Perhaps with many of the big boys struggling, or having already gone home, this is indeed England’s time. The draw certainly seems to favour the men from the island. A victory of Sweden would see them play either host Russia or Croatia in the semifinal. Only in the final would England potentially face a big team in the likes of either France, Belgium or Brazil.
At the same time, bet and win tips suggest that this Sweden side may have the necessary attributes to stop England’s march towards eternity and glory. Well organised with a quick transition game the Blågult are a tough opponent with a quick transition game that could hurt England significantly.
Sweden vs England – Players to look out for:
Emil Forsberg #10 – Sweden (RB Leipzig)
Emil Forsberg is slowly but surely regaining his 2016/17 form. The RB Leipzig attacking-midfielder has been excellent for Sweden at this tournament and is a significant part in the way his country play. One of two attacking midfielders Forsberg is often forced to drop deep to take a more defensive role than it is the case for Leipzig. But that role serves his speed and vision well as he is often the motor for Sweden’s quick transition game from defence to the attack.
Harry Kane #9 – England (Tottenham)
Six goals in three games is an impressive number for the England captain. The striker will without a doubt win the Golden Boot of the 2018 FIFA World Cup even if his nation go out against Sweden. Kane also showed that he is willing to shoulder responsibility as he stepped up against Colombia to convert the penalty that led to the opening goal. He then also converted the first penalty in the penalty shootout.
Sweden vs England – Match Stats
- Sweden and England face each other for the 25th time. England have won eight matches and Sweden seven with the other nine matches ending in draws.
- Both World Cup matches between the two sides ended in draws. In 2002 the game ended 1-1, and in 2006 the game finished 2-2.
- Sweden are playing their fifth quarterfinal, and in three out of the four previous occasions, the Blågult advanced to the next round.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Sweden vs England – 1-0
Sweden vs England – Lineups
Olsen – Augustinsson, Granqvist, Lindelöf, Krafth – Ekdal, Larsson – Forsberg, Claesson – Toivonen, Berg
Pickford – Maguire, Stones, Walker – Young, Henderson, Trippier – Alli, Lingard – Kane, Sterling
Head Coach: Gareth Southgate
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.