Sweden, who failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, have advanced to the quarterfinals after a nervous 1-0 win over Sweden. They’ll take on the Three Lions of England, who won a physical match over Colombia to reach their first World Cup quarterfinal since 2006.
England vs. Sweden: Date, Time & Location
Sweden will take on England on Saturday, July 7th at Samara Arena. The match will kick off at 10 a.m. Eastern and air on Fox and Telemundo in the United States.
It’s the final match of the tournament for Samara Arena, which hosted Brazil’s win over Mexico on Monday. Other than a 1-1 draw between Australia and Denmark, every other game at Samara has been a one-sided affair. Neither team has played at Samara before Saturday’s quarterfinal.
England vs. Sweden: Odds & Prediction
Before the official odds are released, it’s clear that England will be the favorite. Before Tuesday’s action, Sweden were the largest underdog remaining in Russia, with odds at +2500 to win it all. England was right in the middle of the pack at +650.
While the youth movement is strong for England, the older fans will not be excited to see a draw with Sweden. It’s been a rocky history from England’s perspective, winning just one of the last eight meetings in competitive matches. They last defeated Sweden in a major tournament at Euro 2012 with a dramatic 3-2 win.
For that Euro and every tournament of this era, Sweden has been defined by the play of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Zlatan played for Sweden for 15 years, but Sweden failed to qualify for the World Cup in both 2014 and 2010.
Without Zlatan, Sweden are a team-oriented squad built on organization and defense. They didn’t stand out to many in Russia, but made their presence felt with a 3-0 rout of Mexico late in the Group Phase.
The biggest weapon thus far for Sweden has been their keeper. Robin Olsen, who plays club football for FC Copenhagen, made several fantastic saves against Switzerland and has elevated his team’s play in this tournament.
Olsen has been outstanding, but he’s yet to face a player with the quality of Harry Kane. The Tottenham star is the leading candidate to win the Golden Boot after scoring his sixth goal of the tournament against Colombia. Despite playing smaller countries to advance from their group, England continued to look threatening against the much more experienced Colombian defense.
England won the tournament as hosts in 1966, and have only reached the semifinals once in years since. But because of the organization of this World Cup bracket, the winner of this quarterfinal has a very realistic chance of reaching the final. Most of the global powers are on the opposite side of the bracket, and the winner of this matchup will only have to deal with Russia or Croatia to reach an historic milestone in either nation’s soccer history.
In this match, I think the difference will once again be England’s speed. The wingers of the squad are so dynamic and skilled up front that they are able to generate instant offense. That allows them to pump balls into Harry Kane, who has been clinical in front of net in Russia. It was known that Harry Kane needed a big tournament for England to have a chance, and his Golden Boot run might just send England to Luzhniki Stadium for the final.
Way Too Early Prediction: 2-1 England
Source: Heavy Sports