England go marching on in the World Cup after their 2-0 Quarterfinal tie victory over Sweden in Samara. It failed to be a glamorous tie as both teams did not show real quality on the pitch and in open play but England edged it with setpiece dominance and experience.
England were their usual selves in their display against Sweden. They struggled to create real openings in open play and only Raheem Sterling had a well grafted chance but failed to convert. However, in the 30th minute Harry Maguire arrowed his header from a corner beyond Robin Olsen. Dele Ali added another in the 59th minute to double England’s lead.
Sweden created a couple of chances to restore parity in the game but Jordan Pickford was a class act as he was a standout performer. England were just too good for Sweden and I was frankly disappointed that they were not able to muster a stronger challenge. With their performance today it was quite clear they had no business in the World Cup quarterfinals.
It is quite evident that Gareth Southgate has drilled the English team incredibly with set pieces. Their physical strength and aerial prowess has set them apart. Out of the 11 goals they have scored in the World Cup, eight goals have come from setpieces. Despite their struggles from open play, they have effectively managed and improved on one aspect of their game.
Southgate might just pull the rabbit out of the hat and lead the Three Lions to victory in the 2018 World Cup. I am not a fan of the way they play, but they are efficient and this is their first World Cup Semifinal since Italia 90. It also seems like Southgate’s intentional plan to finish second has favoured the Three Lions.