England and Sweden will not need to be told about the significance of their quarter-final in Samara on 7 July. No matter which team advances, it will be hugely significant due to the fact neither side has made it that far at a FIFA World Cup™ for almost a quarter of a century.
For Sweden, if they advance to the semi-finals, it would be the first time since USA 1994, when they finished in third place. As for England, a last-four appearance in Russia would be their first since Italy 1990, when they finished fourth.
Sweden are coming off the back of a resilient 1-0 victory over Switzerland thanks to Emil Forsberg’s deflected goal. The Three Lions were able to overcome the mental hurdle of conceding a stoppage-time equaliser and defeated Colombia 4-3 on penalties after the match ended 1-1 after extra time, to win the nation’s first World Cup finals shootout at the fourth attempt.
Team reporter analysis
Alexandra Jonson with Sweden [Follow: Twitter | Facebook]
Sebastian Larsson is back from suspension but Sweden will miss one of their best defensive assets in Mikael Lustig due to yellow card suspension. The game plan, however, won’t change as Janne Andersson’s men will keep on doing what has brought them success so far, focusing on their solid defence and using counter-attacks as their main source to create chances.
Laure James with England [Follow: Twitter | Facebook]
“We have made progress but we haven’t achieved success yet,” was Gareth Southgate’s telling assessment of England’s adventure so far. His message to the players is that being in the last eight of a World Cup doesn’t happen very often, so make this moment count. As shown in the previous match, knockout football is no longer about over-cautious, apprehensive performances for the Three Lions, so expect plenty of chances and attacking football.
Did you know?
These teams have met 23 times in history and they share seven wins apiece and nine draws. Their first ever match against each other was on 21 May 1923 in Stockholm when England won 4-2. Their most recent head-to-head was on 14 November 2012 when Sweden won by the same 4-2 scoreline in a match that featured Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s FIFA Puskás Award-winning goal.
Sweden: Robin Olsen; Emil Krafth, Victor Lindelöf, Andreas Granqvist, Ludwig Augustinsson; Viktor Claesson, Sebastian Larsson, Albin Ekdal, Emil Forsberg; Marcus Berg, Ola Toivonen
England: Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire; Kieran Trippier, Dele, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young; Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane