Sweden vs England preview, betting tips and prediction

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England are one step from their best World Cup for 28 years…

England have already had a successful World Cup; they have reached the quarter final which, according to the general consensus, was expected, but they have done so by winning their first ever penalty shootout, breaking a curse that has engulfed football in the country for years. The way Gareth Southgate’s side “owned the process”, never losing confidence that they would squeeze past Colombia via the shootout lottery, was mightily impressive. They dominated long spells of the game; Harry Kane, the leader in the race for the Golden Boot with six goals, gave them the lead in the second half, from the spot for the third time at this World Cup, before Yerry Mina equalised in the last second. Many England teams of yesteryear would have folded at the first sight of danger, but Southgate’s men weathered the storm and came out on top.

Next up is Sweden in the last eight; compared to what could have been at this stage, namely Germany or Brazil, it may seem like England have got off lightly. But as Southgate has already pointed out, England have long underestimated Sweden’s quality, winning just eight of 24 previous meetings with them. They are not the only ones, though; despite their lowly reputation, they came through a qualification group with France and Holland before knocking Italy out of the playoffs. In the tournament itself, they topped a group with the Germans and an initially impressive Mexico side. England shouldn’t fear anything, and although they shouldn’t underestimate Sweden either, we think they’ll win this one in normal time.

Perhaps England’s biggest problem is finding alternate goalscorers to Kane. Jesse Lingard is the only one of the other attacking  mainstays to score yet, and it is well documented that Raheem Sterling has not scored for over 1000 days in an England shirt. Kane is almost a sure-fire bet and worth a punt even at 11/10.

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