Sweden’s win over Switzerland in the Round of 16 was once again typically characteristic of their tactical ideology of being able to win without needing much of the ball, and being ruthlessly efficient in their finishing. Janne Andersson’s side has only managed 18 shots on target from their total of 48, but crucially have managed to score 6 of those 18, while keeping 3 clean sheets. They’ve conceded only 12 shots on target (6 of those in one game vs Germany). Sweden have a proud history at World Cups, but this quarterfinal nonetheless represents significant progress; their last appearance at this stage was 1994’s quarterfinal appearance against Gheorghe Hagi’s Romania. There are still issues to iron out, most notably Emil Forsberg’s wasteful finishing (1 goal from 15 shots) and Marcus Berg’s goal drought (0 goals from 13 shots), as well as the overall creativity of the team where Viktor Claesson appears to be the only outlet available for meaningful chance creation.

Sweden vs England Quarterfinal Prediction and Preview

England’s win over Colombia was largely unsatisfactory, with Southgate’s men appearing sluggish from their extended break (rather than fresh) and displaying a lack of quality chance creation (only 2 of their 16 shots against Colombia were on target). Striker and captain Harry Kane leads the World Cup with 6 goals, but has only been furnished with a total of 9 shots. His strike rate is excellent, but the shot volume raises a clear highlight that England’s ability to take good quality shots thus far has been well short of what it may need to be for substantial progress, especially at this point in the tournament. There are positives; Stones and Maguire have been solid, and effective in aerial duels (an important consideration against Sweden). Jordan Pickford has proved an agile and reliable shot-stopper. Trippier has been excellent on the right-hand flank in both defence and attack, with no other England player averaging more key passes per game and more tackles per game than him.

Tactical Considerations:

Sweden haven’t deviated from their solid 442 system, and it’s unlikely to change against England. England should once again find Sweden hard to break down, particularly with the settled back five of Olsen, Lustig, Lindelof, Granqvist and Augustinsson. In midfield, Gustav Svesson’s display against the Swiss is likely to have gained him a spot in the quarterfinal, while the rest of the lineup should remain the same as it was against Switzerland. Sweden’s style isn’t to dominate possession but contain their opposition and transition effectively through Claesson and Forsberg on the flanks in particular, and that will once again be the approach against England.

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What Gareth Southgate’s 3142 lacks in creativity, it wins in physicality and work rate. The team that played Colombia is broadly the first choice lineup, so the attacking midfield should once again feature Trippier and Young on either side of Alli and Lingard, behind Kane. Harry’s partner may change from Sterling to Vardy, given the former’s inability to make an impression thus far. The back five is also unlikely to change too much from the Colombian match (Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Henderson). 

Match Facts & Summary

  Sweden England
World Cup Base Gelendzhik St. Petersburg
2014 World Cup Finish Did Not Qualify Group Stage
Total Head to Head Record Played 24, Sweden 7 Wins, England 8 Wins
Total Head to Head (World Cup Only) Played 2, 2 Draws
Record in World Cup Quarterfinals Played 4, Won 3 Played 6, Won 2
Penalty Shootout Record Won 1 of 1 Won 1 of 4
Odds – Result 3.66 0.84
Odds – To Win World Cup 25.00 4.50 (3rd favourite)
Best Odds – Golden Boot Forsberg (299.00) Kane (0.22)
Best Odds – Golden Ball Forsberg (199.00) Kane (6.00)

 

Our Prediction:

Sweden’s direct style will make for a few concerns in England’s backline; as well as Trippier, Young, Walker, Rose and so forth have handled defensive duties, the 3142 employed by Gareth Southgate still poses systemic risks to England should their opponent have the right quality in width, and Sweden would have noted the effectiveness of Juan Cuadrado’s wide play in particular with keen interest. Claesson has enough form in his locker to pose a creative threat and Sweden’s quick transitions could expose the lacklustre defensive protection of Jordan Henderson. The key issue for England is that their opponents don’t seem to need much of the ball to score, let alone create; whereas England , even with slightly more of the ball, struggled to create meaningful chances against Colombia in their recent exchange. On paper it’s clear who has the advantage, especially upfront; but much of Kane’s goals have been reliant on penalties and set pieces, and unless England can find some purposeful creativity from open play, their plan to score may be flawed enough that it plays into Sweden continuing their string of upsets.

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* Please note – odds mentioned above are subject to change, so always check the latest published odds to be fully certain before betting.

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