Samara: England continued their rich vein of form in this year’s FIFA World Cup by brushing aside Sweden 2-0 to progress to their first semi-finals after 28 years at the Samara Arena here on Saturday.
Defender Harry Maguire’s superb header in the first half and midfielder Dele Alli’s swashbuckling header in the second half were too good for Sweden, as the latter failed to pose any challenge for the English side.
Fresh from their victory in the penalty shootouts against Colombia, England took no time to settle and got down to business by playing attacking football, putting intense pressure on Swedish defence, at times creating chances to score goals.
In the 30th minute, Maguire opened the ‘Three Lions’ account when he scored a beautiful header shot just outside the penalty box, beating Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olson. It was Maguire’s first international goal.
England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford proved to be a thorn for the Swedish players as he consistently made glorious and unbelievable saves to prevent them from scoring and taking the advantage away from England.
In the 56th minute, Alli scored a sensational header to put the 1966 champions in a dominating position.
Sweden frantically tried to score a goal, but its efforts were repeatedly thwarted by a good English defending prowess and Pickford’s safe pair of hands.
With this, England qualified for their third World Cup semi-final, the previous being in 1966 and 1990, respectively.
It was also the Three Lions’ first win in a knockout match in a major tournament under 90 minutes when they last defeated Ecuador at their round of 16 clash in the 2006 edition.
England will face either Croatia or Russia in the semi-finals, which will be decided later in the day. (ANI)