Sweden vs England Match Analysis and Player Ratings
|Image from the Telegraph|
FOOTBALL’S COMING HOOOME! I apologise for the repetiveness but it is just true. England played outstandingly as they knocked out a tough Swedish side in the Quarter Finals to reach the World Cup semis for the first time since 1990. This means they have set themselves up for a semi-final against Croatia, who beat Russia on penalties this evening after a 2-2 draw in extra time. While England kept an unchanged lineup from the side that beat Colombia on penalties, Sweden made two changes from their 1-0 win against Switzerland with Seb Larsson and the Emil Krafth coming in for Gustav Svensson and the suspended Mikael Lustig.
Olsen, Krafth, Granqvist (c), Lindelof, Augustinsson, Claesson, Larsson, Ekdal, Forsberg, Berg, Toivonen
Pickford, Trippier, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Young, Henderson, Lingard, Alli, Sterling,
|Image from the Telegraph|
England and Sweden both started nervously, neither side aiming to play dangerous or risky football and cautiously edged through the first ten minutes. Dele Alli gave the ball away poorly a few times in that time and there were a few mis-kicks from Maguire and Walker that put hearts in the mouths of football fans across the country as well as the 3,000 estimated that were in Samara. Sweden got the first chance at around the quarter hour mark after Claesson was played in by a deflection of John Stones and hit a shot that had Pickford scrambling and then bellowing out to his defenders to cut out the sloppy play and stop these shots from freely coming towards his goal. England came alive and not five minutes later, Captain Kane should have opened the scoring after Sterling sets him up and the Tottenham striker drags his shot inches wide of the post. A little controversy in the game as Forsberg was played in by a wonderful ball over the top of England’s defence and was through on goal, but the assistant wrongly flagged him offside and that might have opened Sweden’s account in the Quarter Finals, a very poor decision made by the officials. Speaking of poor, in the first 25 minutes of the game, Dele Alli misplaced six passes out of ten and has created more chances for Sweden than England in this game. England opened the scoring from a set piece once again as Ashley Young curls an inswinging corner and Harry Maguire powers in a bullet header to score his first of the World Cup and England’s first of this Quarter Final. This was the firelighter in this game as Sweden pressed for an equaliser and England looked on the money and should have trebled their lead let alone doubling it at the end of the first half. The first chance for Sterling was called as offside but the miss from the Jamaican-born Citizen was awful. Henderson played him in again with a delicate lofted through ball, but once again, Sterling fluffed his lines and allowed Robert Olsen and the Swedish defenders to get back and the chance was spurned again!
The second half started with Sweden pressing for a goal and not five minutes into the second half, Pickford was called into action as a close ranged header was gloriously saved by the Jordie and England survived a big scare early on. England shaped up after the scare and looked the part of a World Champion side and played some beautiful football. Suddenly, all the space opened up for England and a goal was made beautifully by the Three Lions. Trippier cut the ball back to Lingard who curled a first time cross to the back post, where Dele Alli ghosted past the Swedish back four and planted a free header past Robert Olsen to score his first of the tournament and gave England a two goal cushion. England lost their concentration to a well worked Swedish chance after Berg brilliantly flicked the ball to an unmarked Viktor Claesson who’s shot stung the palm of Jordan Pickford with a superb save and then the no.17 attempted to score again but the other Jordan had other ideas and made an outstanding block to deny Claesson for the second time and England survive again. Pickford completed his hattrick of saves with a quarter of an hour to go as Guidetti turns and spins impressively and his shot is tipped over the bar by that man again. That was the last true chance of the game and England is in full celebration as they reached the semi-finals. It was a world class performance that could have easily been three or four nil. As for Sweden, a performance with heart but with no end product.
SWEDEN PLAYER RATINGS:
Robert Olsen (7) – One of the better performers, made some big saves and could do nothing about the goals. He will leave the World Cup with his head held high.
Emil Krafth (6) – Was ok but not very effective offensively but dealt with Young decently.
Andreas Granqvist (7) – Put his body on the line and tried his best. He may have got caught out at times but was man marking Kane for a lot of the match.
Victor Lindelof (6.5) – Struggled with Sterling at times but was decent.
Ludwing Augustinsson (6) – Barely affected the game, left a lot of space for Trippier.
Viktor Claesson (6.5) – Could have scored a couple of times but denied well by Pickford for the second shot and the first was missed poorly.
Seb Larsson (6.5) – Played valiantly but seemed frustrated at the end.
Albin Ekdal (6) – Average but not impressive.
Emil Forsberg (6) – Average as well and did not do much in the game.
Marcus Berg (6.5) – The better of the two strikers but was still average.
Ola Toivonen (5) – Quiet as a mouse.
Martin Olsson (6) – More dangerous when he came on but had no end product
John Guidetti (6) – Denied brilliantly by Pickford but no other chances for him
Pontus Jansson (5) – Did not do much.
ENGLAND PLAYER RATINGS:
Jordan Pickford (9) – Stunning saves and his first clean sheet of the World Cup. A confidence boosting performance and perhaps having Real Madrid knocking on his door.
Kieran Trippier (8.5) – Worked so hard and put in some glorious crosses. He has been one of the best players at this tournament and has earned his place in this squad.
Kyle Walker (7) – Hesitant at times to cross the ball but decent at the back.
John Stones (8) – Huge performance today and earning his place every match.
Harry Maguire (8.5) – Brilliant performance from Maguire defensively and from set pieces. There may have been doubt at the start of the World Cup but he has emerged as a vital player for England and deserves his position in this squad.
Ashley Young (7.5) – A stunning cross for the opener and defended well for the remainder of the game.
Jordan Henderson (8) – The perfect anchor and was outstanding for the majority of the game.
Jesse Lingard (8) – Forrest Gump. He ran and ran and ran and never stopped running. His beautiful cross set up the second goal and he fits so well in this formation.
Dele Alli (7) – A good header but misplaced passes throughout the first half and still looked slightly injured.
Raheem Sterling (6.5) – Gary Neville may have said Sterling was excellent but I disagree. A player of Sterling’s calibre should be taking those chances and converting them with ease. His confidence is shot and everyone saw the same thing happen at the 2016 Euros. Rashford for Sterling against Croatia?
Harry Kane (7.5) – While he may not have directly affected the result, he put in a selfless, captain’s performance and held up the ball excellently. Is still set for the Golden Boot mind you…
SWEDEN MAN OF THE MATCH: ROBERT OLSEN
ENGLAND MAN OF THE MATCH: JORDAN PICKFORD
If you disagree with the player ratings or the men of the match, comment on the post!