Maguire and Alli goals seal England’s semi-final spot
Is it time to start getting carried away? England are through to the semi-finals of a major tournament for the first time since 1990 after a convincing 2-0 win over Sweden.
Gareth Southgate spent much of the build-up warning his side, and the nation, of the dangers of complacency. Those fears proved unfounded as goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli secured the Three Lions’ place in the final four.
Jordan Pickford made a number of eye-catching saves, but England were in control of this game for large spells.
Both sides looked nervy in the early stages, before the Three Lions gradually took command.
Set pieces have been vital to their progress in Russia so far, and they made the difference again here. Ashley Young’s corner was met by a thumping Harry Maguire header after half an hour to open the scoring.
Raheem Sterling had a great chance to extend England’s lead on the verge of half-time, but his lack of confidence was clear. The Manchester City man delayed too long and the opportunity vanished.
Sweden almost made him pay right after the restart. Marcus Berg’s header looked destined to hit the back of the net, only for Pickford to deny him with a stunning stop.
The Swedes were shortly left to wonder what could have been. An inviting Jesse Lingard cross was turned in by Dele Alli to double England’s lead just before the hour mark.
Sweden nearly replied instantly, but another great Pickford save and a Jordan Henderson block kept Viktor Claessen out.
They still had time to mount a comeback, but the Scandinavian side never put Southgate’s side under any sustained pressure.
England closed out the game relatively comfortably, allowing them to start dreaming of playing in the World Cup Final. They’ll have to beat either Russia or Croatia next week to get there. But England’s Lions have nothing to fear.
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