Sweden vs England Predictions – Samara Arena – 7 July 2018 – 15:00 GMT – World Cup 2018 Quarter Final preview.
Having survived a nerve-wracking penalty shoot-out in the quarter-finals against Colombia, Gareth Southgate's England are beginning to feel they could go all the way. The Three Lions had their first real tough test against Colombia after oppositions like Tunisia, Panama and a second-string Belgian side in the Group stages.
Sweden vs England Predictions
Odds correct as of 06/07/2018.
While Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Kieran Trippier showed real attacking intent in the first half against the Colombians, it was Jordan Pickford between the posts and Harry Maguire at the back that saved England the blushes in a torrid second half and the first 15 minutes of extra time.
There was nervousness in the defense in the face of Colombian attacks with Kyle Walker and John Stones under serious pressure.
Sweden will look to exploit such weakness by taking the aerial route with two powerful strikers in the form of Marcus Berg and Oli Toivonen operating upfront.
But goals from the Scandinavians haven't come from these two as the strikers have not been at their best with just a solitary goal between them so far.
Berg hasn't scored in his last 13 games but it's the set-pieces that the English will have to worry about. The goal-getters for the Swedes from such situations have been their defenders Andreas Granqvist and Ludwig Augustinsson. RB Leipzig winger, Emil Forsberg, who looked very impressive against Switzerland, will be another player the Three Lions will have to be careful of.
Whatever lack of pace the Scandinavians lack upfront, they make it up by the solidity at the back and mid-field as coach Janne Andersson's 4-4-2 formation suggests. Swedish custodian Robert Olsen has kept three clean sheets and with the likes of Andreas Granqvist, Ludwig Augustinsson and Victor Lindelof forming the back-line the Swedes look almost impregnable.
England will look to the Sterling, Del Alli, Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane to break up the Swede defense and get an early goal or two.
Going into half-time with a goal-less score will allow Andersson's men to settle into their classic defense-cum-counter offense game that has worked wonders for them so far, most poignantly demonstrated by their 3-0 demolition of Mexico.
Harry Kane with six goals so far in the WC 2018 will be the Three Lions' talisman and the odds are that he will score. With the profusion of penalties in the tournament and the VAR kept busy, it wouldn't be a surprise to see at least one scoring opportunity coming Kane's way.
England will in all likelihood dominate possession and have more attempts at goals than their rivals, but they will have to do better. Germany made 28 attempts on the Swedish goal, Mexico 20 and Switzerland 18 but to no avail. The Swedes took it all in.
England will be expecting to come up with their best performance since winning the 1966 World Cup by progressing beyond the Round of 8 while Sweden will look to replicate or even better their 1994 USA third-place feat. The Swedes were knocked in the Round of 16 in 2002 and 2006 the only 2 World Cups they featured in since then.
The odds suggest a win for England at the Samara Arena on Saturday, but Sweden could prove to be their biggest hurdle in Russia 2018 so far.