The FIFA World Cup has almost reached its business end with the Quarter final matches getting underway on Friday night. After the two heavyweight clashes between France-Uruguay and Brazil-Belgium, we will be concluding the last 8 stages when England take on Sweden and hosts Russia take on Croatia.
While it is more than likely that one previous World Cup winner will be reaching the final from the first bracket, England is the only team to have won the Cup before in the second. The apparent inventors of the game will be taking on 1958 World Cup finalists Sweden in the first of the two quarter finals on the 7th of July 2018.
Sweden are the surprise packages of the World Cup so far, after they managed to not only top the group containing Germany, Mexico and South Korea, but also progressed to the quarters after keeping 3 clean sheets and beating Switzerland.
This new look Sweden side has looked very compact as a unit since Zlatan Ibrahimovich retired from international football. They knocked out Holland and Italy in the qualifying rounds before ending the dreams of Germany in the group stages. The Vikings led by their inspirational captain Andreas Granqvist has been rock solid at the back conceding only twice in 4 matches. The whole Sweden team have played beautiful football and have also looked threatening going forward.
England on the other hand have looked way lot fresher in their approach than they do in usual. The English team have looked very composed and united under coach Gareth Southgate. The seemingly under rated bunch of English players have shown unity and have performed reasonably better than their predecessors, who unlike the current set, were superstars. England have been ably led by their inspirational captain Harry Kane from the front. We can expect a very hard fought match between a very strong defensive side versus a free flowing young attacking team.
Injury and Suspension:
Sweden will be missing right back Mikael Lustig, after the Celtic defender saw a second yellow in the competition for himself. They might also miss Albin Ekdal and Jimmy Durmaz due to injuries. Although expected to start, Sebastian Larsson is still nursing a head injury.
England don’t have any player suspended. However, Ashley Young, Dele Alli, Jamie Vardy and Kyle Walker are all carrying slight injuries going into the match,
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 Alli, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young; Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane.
For Sweden, goalkeeper Robin Olsen will be crucial under the bar. The centre half duo of Andreas Granqvist and Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof will be key in their defensive solidity. Viktor Claesson and Emil Forsberg will need to take up more responsibilities, and they will surely be inspired by the return of former Sunderland and Hull City man Larsson from suspension. Ola Toivonen and Marcus Berg will be the ones to bank on goals for.
The list of key players will be aplenty for England. Everton FC custodian Jordan Pickford was outstanding in the pre-quarters after an outstanding stoppage time save and a very strong penalty save in the shootout. Manchester City’s Kyle Walker and John Stones will need to keep up their good form at the back with Leicester City stopper back Harry Maguire. Manchester United duo of Ashley Young and Jesse Lingard will also be very important in the wings. Liverpool FC skipper Jordan Henderson has been one of the best holding midfielders in this year’s world cup and he will be needing to keep up his good work once again. Tottenham Hotspur trio of Dele Alli, Kieran Trippier and captain Harry Kane will be crucial for the 3 Lions upfront.
Sweden vs England Telecast and Live Streaming:
The game is scheduled on Saturday from 07:30 p.m. IST and will be telecast on Sony network and also in the Sony Liv app. However, for online streaming links, send us a message to our official Facebook page.