World Cup 2018: England eyeing semi-final spot as Sweden come calling

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England will consider themselves the favourites to progress to the semifinals but will need to be wary against complacency...

England take on Sweden in a momentous World Cup 2018 quarter-finals tie as a place in the final-four of the tournament, and possible glory, beckons.  

The group G runners-up head into this tie, brimming with confidence and gusto. Having overcome Colombia in a tight 4-3 penalty shoot-out win, England seek redemption for nearly 30 years of anguish by progressing to a stage they last reached in 1990. Gareth Southgate will have instilled focus and determination in the squad to prevent overconfidence after sealing their first World Cup penalty shootout win.

A 3-4-2-1 will be order of the day for the manager, with Harry Kane leading the line and the race for the golden boot with six goals in the tournament so far. Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard will look to control the pace of attack.

Midfield will seek a combination viz. Dele Alli, Ashley Young, Kieran Trippier and Jordan Henderson. The wing-back Trippier has been in dead-ball situations so far for the Three Lions. 

At the back, a hugely improved Harry Maguire will be expected to man the left hand side of the pitch, while John Stones and Kyle Walker are sure starters in front of Jordan Pickford.

Toivonen

Sweden, on the other hand, will approach this tie with the same grit they showed against Switzerland.

Coach Jan Andersson will hope his side can write themselves into the history books by becoming the first ever Swedish side in the final four of the ‘Cup of Joy’.

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Martin Lustig has been suspended for a second yellow in the tournament, dealing a blow for Sweden. He’ll be ably replaced by Martin Olsson, as Andersson will look to implement the same 4-4-2 formation that has worked wonders for them. 

Emil Forsberg the hero last time around is expected to start on the left. Ola Toivonen and Marcus Berg will start up top and are expected to give their opposing defenders a hard time. Victor Lindelof and Andreas Granqvist will deal Harry Kane's threat while Ludwig Augustinsson, V. Claesson, G. Svenson and A. Ekal are expected to start in midfield. 

So, it finally boils down to this. It’s the English army versus the Vikings’ finest soldiers. In what is expected to be a highly intense battle on the pitch, kick-off is at  10:00 PM Malaysia time from the Samara stadium.                                                                                                         

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