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England downs Sweden to make first World Cup semifinal since 1990

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For the first time since 1990, England is in a World Cup semi-final.

Set pieces have been a huge part of England’s success in Russia this summer, and that trend continued in Saturday’s quarterfinal match up with Sweden.

The Three Lions used goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli to down the Swedes 2-0 in Samara to book a spot in Wednesday’s semifinal.

After a slow start to the match, Maguire broke the deadlock in the 30th minute as the Leicester City centerback headed Ashley Young’s cross in. It was Maguire’s first senior goal for England as he beat Robin Olsen from the center of the box.

Sweden was pressed back most of the opening half after going down, and didn’t have their best look on goal till the 47th minute. Marcus Berg’s header was easily gathered by Jordan Pickford.Alli doubled the lead for England in the 58th minute as his free header went through Olsen’s hands and in.

Sweden questioned if the Tottenham man was offsides but their backline kept Alli onside in the end.

Berg’s nice control in the 71st minute forced Pickford into a fingertip save which helped preserve the clean sheet. The Everton keeper made three saves in entirety which sees England advance to their first semi final since 1990.

Gareth Southgate’s men will next face the winner of Croatia-Russia on Wednesday in the second semifinal match.

Man of the Match

Maguire scored the winning goal in the match and was very effective in the England backline.

Moment of the Match

Alli’s goal iced the result for England and really killed any momentum for the Swedes.

Match to Forget

Emil Forsberg played the hero for Sweden in the Round of 16 but was shut down by England’s midfielders.

Comments

  1. Even though I’d say they’re the fourth-best team left, you have to be impressed with what Southgate and this young England squad have done. It’s nice to see a Three Lions team playing in a World Cup and having fun doing it as opposed to looking like lambs being led to slaughter.

    Of course, a lot of that may have to do with youthful naivete and the lack of burdening expectation (pretty telling that loads of English fans are now scrambling to get to Russia for this, instead of having already been there). Be interesting to see what the next Euro/WC cycle holds when, inevitably, the expectation goes through the roof.

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  2. England and France squads show the importance of having players aged 22-26 forming the core of your country’s team with a few excellent older players. (France has Mbappe who is even younger, of course.)

    The US players in that age group have not been very successful; failed to qualify for Olympics and U-20 championships and could not make a case they were better than the crop of 28 – 33 Year-olds they would replace.

    Fortunately the players aged 17-22 in the US look like they will do better (played well in the U-17 and &020 championships and some are important players for their professional team (McKinney, Pulisic, Adams, Parker, CCV Miazga, … ) Even younger players like Sargent, Weah and Carleton also look to join this group seamlessly.

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