Sweden vs England preview, betting tips and prediction
Under 1.5 goals @ 8/5 with Betfair
As anticipated, Sweden’s game against Switzerland was low on goals and even lower on quality but the Swedes should not be underestimated in the quarter-final. They’re an extremely solid side and the only thing they’re missing in the side is a clinical finisher. This is ironic given their best run in a World Cup coincides with the international retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of the country’s best ever players. Had they lined up with better attackers, they could have put three or four beyond Switzerland. Even so, they won’t take the field with any fear.
Belief is also surging through England. Could this be their year? Could football really be ‘coming home’? The advent of their first penalty shoot-out triumph would suggest that they have the luck that previous England sides have lacked. Jordan Pickford was the hero after saving two spot-kicks to send the Three Lions through. Nastiness spoiled what was otherwise a compelling match. How much did extra-time and penalties take out of England? Gareth Southgate could opt to rotate his squad a bit for this one, starting able deputies like Marcus Rashford.
Emil Forsberg opening his account (albeit with a wicked deflection) was great news for Sweden. He’s arguably their most talented attacking player and they will need him to be on form versus England. The 1-0 win over Switzerland saw them keep their third clean sheet of the tournament. That could be a huge factor in a game that might only produce one or two goals.
England conceded a last-minute equaliser to Colombia and it could have been the demoralising blow that led to their exit. While Colombia grew in extra-time, England held on and triumphing after that test will only make them stronger. The fact that they’re yet to keep a clean sheet might worry Gareth Southgate. In Harry Kane, they have the tournament’s top scorer (with half of his tally coming from the penalty spot). His supporting cast will need to play better here.
Extra-time took its toll on England. Jamie Vardy was down as a penalty taker but a groin injury forced Eric Dier to step up and convert the crucial kick. Dele Alli and Ashley Young are also doubts.
Albin Ekdal suffered a sprain against Switzerland and is a doubt. Mikael Lustig is suspended.