World Cup 2018: Maguire & Alli Propel England Past Sluggish Sweden

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Gareth Southgate's side are into the final-four of the World Cup after 28 years..

England cruised into their first World Cup semifinal since 1990 after a comfortable 2-0 win over Sweden on Saturday in Samara. 

Goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli were enough for the Three Lions to join the likes of France and Belgium and in the final-four stage. Sweden were largely ineffective in front of goal and hardly troubled England's three-man defence. 

Sweden-England

Neither team sprang any surprises with their team selections and made cagey starts to the game. No solid chances fell the way of either team initially as the game continued at a sluggish pace.

However, England made the most of a set-piece to score the opener against a miserly Swedish defence as Harry Maguire outjumped Viktor Claesson to head home Ashley Young's corner in the 30th minute. 

That was the spark England were looking for, who started to play with more confidence. Sweden, for most parts of the first half, showcased neither creativity nor urgency which meant England went into the break with a deserved lead. 

But the Swedes upped the ante after the restart and Marcus Berg forced a fantastic save from Jordan Pickford. However, the attacking intent they showed meant England had enough spaces to exploit. 

That they did and soon looked rampant in the lead up to Dele Alli's goal which came just before the hour mark. The Tottenham midfielder was left completely unmarked at the far post and he headed in Jesse Lingard's cross from the right. 

England were in cruise control after that goal as Sweden's frontmen looked bereft of ideas. Emil Forsberg and Ola Toivonen were poor and unsurprisingly hauled off for John Guidetti and Martin Olsson.  Not that the move produced any dividends though Sweden forced Pickford into three good saves. 

England could have added more goals, if not for poor finishing from the likes of Raheem Sterling. Gareth Southgate's side will now start dreaming about reaching only their second World Cup final even as the fans scream 'It's coming home' on the streets of Moscow. 

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