England broke the penalties curse, but is the team ready for something more?
Sweden and England are coming out to determine the third semi-finalist of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. England seems to be a strong favorite and a sure winner today, according to analysts and bookmakers. But how does that work?
Out of 12 matches between the two teams in the last 30 years, so far the draws have been 6. Sweden surprisingly or not, has 4 wins. The success for England was only twice. Even these two successes did not come easy. At the European Championship, England were down to1:2 in the score up to 64 minutes, and managed to turn the match to 3:2. Half a year earlier, a 1-0 win and a goal of Gareth Barry stamped the victory in a friendly match.
England has so far scored nine goals at the World Cup. Only Belgium with 12 goals is ahead. But 6 of the English goals were scored against perhaps the weakest team in the Championship - Panama. In the other 3 games, England scored only 3 goals. The team managed to break the penalty shootout curse, winning against Colombia on the last round.
Sweden is in the forefront of another ranking. With just 2 goals conceded so far, Swedes split third place with Croatia and Denmark. With only one goal conceded are Uruguay and Brazil. Interestingly, both goals were scored by Germany, and in the other 3 matches, Sweden kept its net clean.
England seems to be able to be ambitious against strong teams, but in many cases ends up equally in the derbies. Such a result happened in recent matches against Italy, Brazil, Germany, and Spain. Gareth Southgate managed to build a stable and a hard-to-beat team. The victories, however, come somewhat timidly. The fact is a minimal success against teams like Lithuania, Slovenia and Slovakia. Sweden has shown itself to be an extremely wrestling team. I'm expecting a draw in the regular time and Tre Kronur to win on penalties.