It is no secret in-house that I have been unimpressed by England. Crossing my heart, I feel they have been incredibly lucky – favoured in the group they were, amongst other things. Anyway, they have worked hard to come this far and kudos to them, especially Harry Kane who has bagged in six goals so far at the World Cup – the top goalscorer in the World Cup so far (likely to be the outright winner). Kane has not really played well in open play and half of his goals have come from the spot. Kane’s goal-scoring reflects the way England play, they struggle to create clear-cut chances and score from open play and they rely on corners, freekicks and penalties. It will be their ultimate undoing – but they seem to have all the luck, we might as well see them in the Finals.
Sweden are a tough team to beat, they do not have any fantastic player – Emil Forsberg is probably their best player – and he isn’t even good enough to start in the English team. Sweden rely on strong team ethic, hard-work and determination. They are very difficult to break down, physical and capable of converting the odd chances they get. England will have to sweat for this one.
My prediction is a 0-0 tie then England to edge it on penalties.
- Sweden and England face each other for the 25th occasion and a third time at a World Cup.
- Of the previous 24 matches Sweden have won seven, England eight and nine have been drawn.
- Both World Cup meetings were group games which ended even. The sides drew their opening match 1-1 in 2002 and then 2-2 in the final game in 2006. Sweden did not lead in either game and came back to equalise three times.
- In eight competitive meetings, including qualifiers, Sweden have won twice, England once and five games have been drawn. The Three Lions’ only competitive win was a 3-2 victory at Euro 2012.
- The last time the sides met was in a friendly in November 2012. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored all of Sweden’s goals in a 4-2 win.
- Sweden are in the quarter-finals for the first time since 1994.
- They have progressed from three of their four previous quarter-finals (in 1938, 1958 and 1994) – their only defeat came against Germany in 1934.
- The Swedes have made it out of the group stage of the World Cup in each of their last four tournaments.
- They have won their last two World Cup games; they have only won three in a row once before, across 1950 and 1958.
- Sweden have scored six goals at this World Cup, the same number as England’s Harry Kane has.
- Eleven of their last 14 goals at the World Cup have been scored in the second half, including five of their six goals in Russia.
- Robin Olsen has kept three clean sheets, a joint-record for a Swedish goalkeeper at a World Cup along with Ronnie Hellstrom in 1974 and Karl Svensson in 1958.
- Marcus Berg has had 13 shots so far, the most of any player who is yet to score at this tournament. The last Swede to have more shots without scoring at a World Cup was Ove Grahn in 1974 (17 shots, 0 goals).
- This is England’s ninth World Cup quarter-final.
- They have only progressed from two of their previous eight, in 1966 and 1990.
- The previous two occasions that England reached the World Cup quarter-finals, in 2002 and 2006, they had a Swedish coach in Sven-Goran Eriksson.
- England haven’t won a knockout match at a major tournament (excluding penalty shoot-outs) since beating Ecuador 1-0 in 2006 in the last 16.
- The Three Lions are the only side left in the tournament who are yet to keep a clean sheet in their four matches. They have never gone five consecutive games in the competition without a shut-out.
- No England player has scored more World Cup goals in a single tournament than the six Harry Kane has scored in 2018. Gary Lineker also netted six in 1986, winning the Golden Boot in the process.
- Kane has scored with all six of his shots on target so far.
- He is the first player to score three penalties at a World Cup since Bulgaria’s Hristo Stoichkov in 1994.