England are on a big high after emerging victorious from an epic penalty shootout against Colombia. In regulation, England's lone goal came via another Harry Kane goal from the penalty spot. Kane leads the tournament with 6 goals in total, 3 coming by way of the penalty spot. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was the difference-maker for England making an incredible lunging save of Mateus Uribe's long range shot. Pickford cemented his national hero status in the penalty shoot out by saving Colombia's fifth penalty from Carlos Bacca, which would prove decisive in the victory.
England proved that they could withstand physical play from Colombia, who amassed 21 fouls and 6 bookings. England are riding a wave of emotion and after clearing their toughest hurdle in Colombia, chants of 'It's Coming Home!' accompany any discussion of England's World Cup team. In order to capitalise on the momentum, England will need to continue to play with the attacking style that they demonstrated versus Colombia. England had 15 attempts on goal and 5 on target. Although Kane gets the lion share of attention, look for the trio of Rahim Sterling, Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli to create quality scoring chances. The Swedish defence will have a tough task containing all three.
Sweden have been constantly counted out since their qualifying group stage, where they outlasted perennial favourites Netherlands and defeated Italy in a play-off. The Swedes throttled Mexico 3-0 in the group phase and outplayed defending champions Germany who escaped with a dramatic 94th minute winner. At this point Sweden are well-versed in playing the role of the underdog. Emil Forsberg was the difference in an evenly matched game against Switzerland. His long range goal was his first of the tournament. For Sweden to challenge England, Forsberg will have to be sharp again. Sweden will be boosted by the return of the veteran player Seb Larsson who will offer lots of creative playmaking in the centre of midfield as well as quality from set pieces. However, Sweden will miss the experience and steady defensive play of Mikael Lustig who will not be in the side due to suspension.
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