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Sunday, 8 July 2018

England Beat Sweden 2-0 to enter the Semi Finals of World Cup 2018 - Pickford's Heroics Shuts Out Sweden (video)

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Sweden 0-2 England: Three Lions through to the World Cup semi-final after Harry Maguire and Dele Alli fire home headers to secure victory in Samara

At the end of it all, Gareth Southgate embraced his assistant Steve Holland. Then, quite deliberately, he sought out each and every member of his back-room staff and gave them the same celebratory greeting, one by one. It took some time, so many are involved in this World Cup campaign.
Only then did he find his way on to the pitch where Jesse Lingard, John Stones and Kyle Walker were dancing a daft jig in front of the England fans. Just that moment was telling; players from rival Manchester clubs usually locked in parochial combat, as comrades in arms.
Then it was Southgate’s turn to take the limelight. He strode towards the fans, clenched his fists tight and let out a guttural roar as he acknowledged the scale of his achievement.

England have booked their place in the semi-finals of the Russia World Cup after defeating Sweden 2-0 in Samara
The Swedes were left heartbroken at the final whistle as England put in a dominant performance to progress to the last four
The Swedes were left heartbroken at the final whistle as England put in a dominant performance to progress to the last four
Manager Gareth Southgate roared with jubilation as the referee signalled full time, following five minutes of added time
Manager Gareth Southgate roared with jubilation as the referee signalled full time, following five minutes of added time
Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was equally as delighted and unleashed his emotions as England were confirmed victors
Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was equally as delighted and unleashed his emotions as England were confirmed victors
The Everton man was also awarded man of the match after a solid performance between the sticks, earning a clean sheet
The Everton man was also awarded man of the match after a solid performance between the sticks, earning a clean sheet
Dele Alli made it 2-0 to England after latching on to a Jesse Lingard in-swinging cross and heading the ball home
Dele Alli made it 2-0 to England after latching on to a Jesse Lingard in-swinging cross and heading the ball home
Alli popped up at the back post to make solid contact with the ball, after England had made solid use of possession
Alli popped up at the back post to make solid contact with the ball, after England had made solid use of possession
Earlier, Harry Maguire had leapt highest to crash home a header on the half-hour mark and put England in front
Earlier, Harry Maguire had leapt highest to crash home a header on the half-hour mark and put England in front
MATCH DETAILS 
SWEDEN (4-4-2): Olsen, Krafth (Jansson 85), Lindelof, Granqvist, Augustinsson, Claesson, Larsson, Ekdal, Forsberg (Olsson 65), Berg, Toivonen (Guidetti 65). 
SUBS: Johnsson, Svensson, Helander, Hiljemark, Rohden, Durmaz, Thelin, Nordfeldt.
BOOKED: Larsson, Guidetti
ENGLAND (3-5-1-1): Pickford 9, Walker 7.5, Stones 8, Maguire 8.5, Trippier 8.5, Alli 7 (Delph 77), Henderson (Dier 84), Lingard 7, Young 7.5, Sterling(Rashford 90), Kane 7
SUBS: Butland, Rose, Vardy, Welbeck, Cahill, Jones, Loftus-Cheek, Alexander-Arnold, Pope.
GOALS: Maguire 30, Alli 58
REFEREE: Bjorn Kuipers (Holland) 6.5
ATTENDANCE: 39,991 
 England ratings by Sami Mokbel 

It didn’t have anything like he drama of the Colombian shoot-out. The football was nothing like the quality presented by Brazil and Belgium. But make no mistake: in the Samara Arena by the River Volga in a far-flung corner of Russia and two thousands miles from home, an England team made history.
A collection of players to whom few gave any serious consideration as contenders when they left home last month, will contest a World Cup semi final on Wednesday night in Moscow.
It will be only the third time Englishmen [note to subs - caution - women did it in 2015] have done so since the Football Association deigned to appear at this tournament in 1950. A young team which seemed devoid of real ego or heavyweight stars a month ago go down as one of England’s best, surpassing a golden generation which could never make this step.
Southgate, a deceptively determined man who was parachuted into this job amidst chaos twenty-two months ago, will join Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Alf Ramsey as the only managers of the men’s team to guide his players to this stage of the World Cup .
He considered that fact last night and conceded that it is difficult to place in perspective. ‘It is a privilege,’ was the best he could muster. What is truly enticing is the prospect that he might go one better than Sir Bobby, a man who would counsel him twelve years ago when he was struggling to find his feet at Middlesbrough manager. He has come a long way since then.
Last night he was fielding complimentary questions from Brazilian journalists about the revolution he has overseen in English football and queries from the Chinese about how the national team now matched the quality of the Premier League. 
Maguire was unrivalled in the air and connected cleanly with Ashley Young's in-swinging corner ball to open the scoring
Maguire was unrivalled in the air and connected cleanly with Ashley Young's in-swinging corner ball to open the scoring
Maguire angled his run under the cover of striker Harry Kane, who was heavily monitored by the Swedish back line
Maguire angled his run under the cover of striker Harry Kane, who was heavily monitored by the Swedish back line
Pure emotion could be seen on the face of the centre-half as Maguire raced away to celebrate with the England fans
Pure emotion could be seen on the face of the centre-half as Maguire raced away to celebrate with the England fans
The rest of his Three Lions team-mates soon joined in and piled on the goalscorer after taking first blood in the fixture
The rest of his Three Lions team-mates soon joined in and piled on the goalscorer after taking first blood in the fixture
Maguire saved one last double fist pump for the England fans while letting out a passionate scream
Maguire saved one last double fist pump for the England fans while letting out a passionate scream
Maguire saved one last double fist pump for the England fans while letting out a passionate scream
His team has travelled far too. ‘I sat them down 18 months ago and explained to them that any success they have with England would be much bigger than anything they could have with their clubs.’ He allowed himself a wry smile. ‘I think that is starting to register now. Maybe I am telling the truth. Most of the time.’
And Harry Maguire is a secret no more. The world is awake to his talents, which go far beyond his headed goal. ‘He’s getting his bonce on everything,’ smiled Southgate, causing the FIFA translators to scramble for an English dictionary of slang words. ‘He’s been a giant in both boxes. I was certain this was a stage he could play at. I’m not sure he’s always believed that. I remember saying to him after he made his debut last year: “Okay, why don’t we try and be as good as we might be now?” His use of the ball has been as good as any centre half here.’
Jordan Henderson controlled midfield and Raheem Sterling buzzed with creative energy: if only that goal would come. But there was another, familiar hero. Jordan Pickford, who made his England debut in November, has grown, figuratively if not literally in this tournament and his riposte to questions about his height has been perfectly timed.
Sweden were extraordinarily limited and initially unambitious. Yet it still took three wonderful saves from Pickford to get England over the line. That the game was devoid of tension by the end, was down to the goalkeeper.
Though Sweden were poor, they are a team that has disposed of Holland and Italy in qualifying and who got rid of Germany from the group stages. Less fortunate England managers have been photoshopped into turnips by Swedes before now so the fact that this team made light work of this fixture was a testament to their resolve. 
In the second half, Alli kept his eyes open and fixed on the ball as the cross came in to find him inside the six-yard box
In the second half, Alli kept his eyes open and fixed on the ball as the cross came in to find him inside the six-yard box
Alli watched on as his headed effort flashed past Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen to double England's lead in Samara
Alli watched on as his headed effort flashed past Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen to double England's lead in Samara
Alli found himself unmarked at the back post and made the most of the opportunity to give England breathing space
Alli found himself unmarked at the back post and made the most of the opportunity to give England breathing space
The midfielder peeled away in celebration after scoring his first World Cup goal for the national team
The midfielder peeled away in celebration after scoring his first World Cup goal for the national team
Ashley Young quickly jumped on his team-mate to celebrate England's second goal in the tie and put one foot in the semi-final
Ashley Young quickly jumped on his team-mate to celebrate England's second goal in the tie and put one foot in the semi-final
Moments after Alli's goal, Jordan Pickford pulled off a superb save to deny Sweden hitting back with a rapid response
Moments after Alli's goal, Jordan Pickford pulled off a superb save to deny Sweden hitting back with a rapid response
Raheem Sterling comes agonisingly close to getting a quick second goal for England but the ball is cleared by Emil Krafth
Raheem Sterling comes agonisingly close to getting a quick second goal for England but the ball is cleared by Emil Krafth
Sterling stayed on his feet while attempting to round goalkeeper Robin Olsen, only for the Swede to get the faintest touch
Sterling stayed on his feet while attempting to round goalkeeper Robin Olsen, only for the Swede to get the faintest touch
Still, England were far from scintillating and will have to play better to progress to a World Cup final. In a stadium which was far from full and in a game which early on was devoid of real quality, it was curiously hard to summon the tension requisite for a game of this magnitude.
They started tentatively betraying suffocating nerves. There was no high press, nor panache. At times the game resembled a pre-season Championship friendly. It took 19 minutes for England to find their feet with Kieran Trippier finding Sterling, who injected energy into a soporific occasion, beating two men and teeing up Harry Kane, who shot wide.
It was a sign of life and some fluency was returning to England’s game.
Yet it took a familiar route for England finally to break Swedish resistance. Their first corner kick on 32 minutes saw the usual suspects of Harry Maguire, John Stones, Jordan Henderson and Kane amassed at the back of the box.
The only variation in England’s routines was that Dele and Sterling joined them initially. As Ashley Young struck the ball, they all scattered and it was enough to confuse Sweden because, in the melee, Maguire was lost, His eyes never left the ball. Poor Forsberg was left trying to out-jump him but it Maguire rose, connected with his head directed the ball firmly home with a magnificent header.
It didn’t quite bring the release for which England yearned but there was a better finish to the half when Sterling broke free to be denied by Robin Olsen. By the time he turned to shot agin, the familiar figure of Andreas Granqvist was there to block. Still, these were hopeful signs. 
Jordan Pickford screams at his defence after an early Sweden chance threatened England, but whistled over the crossbar
Jordan Pickford screams at his defence after an early Sweden chance threatened England, but whistled over the crossbar
Raheem Sterling bursts through the middle of the park past Seb Larsson while causing Sweden problems in the early stages
Raheem Sterling bursts through the middle of the park past Seb Larsson while causing Sweden problems in the early stages
Viktor Claesson battles to shield the ball under pressure from Dele Alli and get his side moving upfield
Viktor Claesson battles to shield the ball under pressure from Dele Alli and get his side moving upfield
Kyle Walker clears the ball in the opening moments as a packed stadium in Samara watches over the quarter-final clash
Kyle Walker clears the ball in the opening moments as a packed stadium in Samara watches over the quarter-final clash
Nevertheless it was Sweden who presented the first sign of danger in the second half. Ludwig Augustinsson swung in an excellent cross on 47 minutes and Marcus Berg rose above Young and directed his header goal-wards. Only the excellence of Pickford leaping to his left prevented an equaliser and a Swedish revival.
It was wholly out of character for the game up to that point. Young’s free kick on 52 minutes found Maguire at the back post - the default England set piece - and his header across was met with spectacular if imperfectly-executed bicycle kick by Sterling.
But there was a patience and craft now to England’s play. So when Trippier had the chance to swing another cross in on 58 minutes he instead opted for a more subtle cut back to Lingard. He, in turn, dinked the ball over the Swedish defence and there was that run from Dele Alli, which Southgate has been so keen to unleash. No Swede picked him up so his was a fairly simple task to head home. Half the team celebrated with Dele and, fittingly, half with Lingard whose cross was so precise.
Sweden had been so unadventurous it seemed as though the game was won. Yet within minutes they broke down the left and when Berg touched the ball back to Viktor Claesson a goal seemed inevitable, He struck it well enough but Pickford produced another outstanding save, diving to his left to parry away.
Sweden, their World Cup slipping away, sprung into life When Claesson burst down the left again on 72 minutes and crossed for Berg, the centre forward took a touch and struck a rising shot which Pickford again met superbly, touching it over. It was save that would break Sweden, Never again would they truly threaten, Their race was run. England’s, thrillingly and unimaginably, is far from done. 
Swathes of yellow could be seen dotted around the stands as Sweden fans bunched together to cheer on their side
Swathes of yellow could be seen dotted around the stands as Sweden fans bunched together to cheer on their side
The Three Lions lined up for the squad photo as Gareth Southgate named an unchanged starting XI from the Colombia clash
The Three Lions lined up for the squad photo as Gareth Southgate named an unchanged starting XI from the Colombia clash
Atmosphere and tensions quickly racked up inside the stadium as both teams emerged, hopeful of making the semi-finals
Atmosphere and tensions quickly racked up inside the stadium as both teams emerged, hopeful of making the semi-finals
The England players make a bee-line to their supporters in Samara and celebrate following the final whistle
The England players make a bee-line to their supporters in Samara and celebrate following the final whistle
Boss Gareth Southgate puts his arm around star striker Harry Kane upon learning they have reached the last-four
Boss Gareth Southgate puts his arm around star striker Harry Kane upon learning they have reached the last-four
The two crucial men in Samara, Jordan Pickford (right) and Harry Maguire (left) put in huge performances against Sweden
The two crucial men in Samara, Jordan Pickford (right) and Harry Maguire (left) put in huge performances against Sweden

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