World Cup 2018: 3 reasons why Sweden lost 0-2 to England
England will appear in their first World Cup semi-final since 1990 as they easily saw off Sweden at Samara.
The game was low on tempo but evenly contested until the 30th minute, when defender Harry Maguire headed Gareth Southgate’s side into the lead from an Ashley Young corner. Their advantage was doubled on the hour mark when Dele Alli beat a poorly set-up Swedish offside trap to get his head onto a cross.
Sweden toiled hard to stage a fightback but were denied both by some disciplined defending and a handful of excellent saves by young goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The Scandinavian side returns home, while England await the outcome of the other quarter-final between hosts Russia and Croatia to contest the semi-final in Moscow on Wednesday.
Here's a brief analysis of where Sweden fell short in their defeat.
#1 Flawed defensive tactics – both in set-pieces and the offside trap
The Swedes were well organized until the half hour mark when they conceded the first corner of the game. A team that had conceded in only one of their four games prior to this in the tournament would have been expected to clear the danger. However, it was Harry Maguire who won the first ball, outjumping his marker to power a header into the corner, giving goalkeeper Olsen no chance.
Questions will surely be asked of their man-marking distribution, as it was winger Emil Forsberg rather than one of the more aerially capable centre-halves or defensive midfielder Seb Larsson tracking the tall, aggressive Maguire.
Alli’s goal on the hour was another result of Sweden’s defensive lapse, getting their timing of the offside trap all wrong as the 22-year old advanced beyond them to head in from the far post.
The goals meant that Sweden had to open up and commit more men forward, leaving gaps at the back and offering more opportunities to Gareth Southgate’s side, a handful of which were fluffed by the wasteful Raheem Sterling. All their good work to keep a young, vibrant English side at bay until then had come to nothing.