World Cup 2018: England overcome Sweden to reach semi-final after 28 years

first_imgHarry Maguire and Dele Alli scored as England defeated Sweden to reach their first World Cup semi-final since 1990. The Swedes were no match for the fluent English in their FIFA World Cup 2018 quarter-final at the Samara Arena on Saturday.England had won the World Cup in 1966 and thereafter, reached the quarter-finals in 1970. They did not qualify for the World Cup in 1974 and 1978.In 1982, England crashed out of the second group stage but managed to reached the last eight in 1986. They then finished fourth in 1990 but for six World Cups after that, there was plenty of disappointment in store for the Three Lions.However, under Gary Southgate, England have looked a far more dangerous side than their predecessors. In the group stage, they crushed Panama and Tunisia but went down to Belgium 1-0 in a dead game – by then both European teams had qualified for the round of 16.’It’s coming home’: Prince William and England eye 2nd World Cup triumphOn Saturday, England were far more proficient than Sweden.A thumping 30th-minute Maguire header from a corner gave England a 1-0 lead over Sweden and the teams headed into the first half with that score line.Centre-back Maguire connected with an Ashley Young corner to score his first international goal and reward England for their more adventurous approach in a largely cautious first half.England players euphoric after reaching first World Cup semis since 1990In the 59th minute, England stretched their lead to 2-0 after Dele ran in brilliantly and headed in a lofted chip from Jesse Lingard at the edge of the box.advertisementSweden were heroic in their World Cup campaign – they had defeated Mexico and South Korea and lost to Germany in the group stage. In the round of 16, the Swedes prevailed over Denmark in a tense penalty shootout.Sweden had reached the quarter-finals by making life hard for supposedly superior opponents and it was easy to see why after a dour opening when England looked incapable of stringing passes together against their hardworking opponents.It was predictable in many ways, therefore, that the deadlock was broken from a set piece.BULLET HEADEREngland had laboured without reward before Ashley Young lined up a corner on the left and his curled effort was met by Maguire charging forward with conviction and barging Emil Forsberg out of his way to power a header down into the net.That was England’s eighth set-piece goal at this World Cup, but, while they are seemingly lethal from dead balls, apart from Kane they are not blessed with too many other sharp shooters.Raheem Sterling has faced some criticism over his struggles to score for England and just before halftime his doubters were handed ammunition when he was twice left alone to bear down on Sweden keeper Robin Olsen.His blushes were saved by the linesman’s flag as he fluffed the first chance, but moments later he ran through again, this time trying to round the keeper, only to be denied once more.England were almost made to pay straight after the interval and would have been pegged back if Pickford had not produced a top-drawer save to keep out a Berg header.The killer blow, however, arrived in the 59th minute as Jesse Lingard’s teasing cross into the box was met by Alli unmarked at the far post to head powerfully past Olsen.England had not kept a clean sheet in their four previous matches and had Pickford to thank for ensuring they did not concede this time.The keeper saved superbly from Viktor Claesson before tipping a shot from Berg over the bar and that was enough to ensure Swedish hopes of reaching their first semi-final since 1994 were dashed.(With Reuters inputs)last_img read more

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