England reached the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1990 after they claimed a comfortable 2-0 victory over Sweden at the Samara Arena on Saturday.
Sweden 0 England 2
Maguire (30′) heads home from a corner
Pickford denies Berg twice in second half
Alli (58′) converts Lingard cross at back post
Claesson also kept out by Pickford
Gareth Southgate’s side never looked like relinquishing their lead after Harry Maguire broke the deadlock in the 30th minute, with Dele Alli securing the win with another header on 58 minutes.
Jordan Pickford made a couple of good saves to keep his country’s first clean sheet of the tournament, as they booked a place in the last four against the winner of the clash between Russia and Croatia.
There were very few clear-cut chances in a cagey first half which saw England take a deserved 1-0 lead into the break.
Sweden had the first shot in anger on 12 minutes when they won the ball back just inside the opposition, but Viktor Claesson failed to keep his shot down from 30 yards out.
Harry Kane barely touched the ball in the first half, although he went close on 19 minutes with a low strike from 20 yards out that flew beyond the left post, after Raheem Sterling did well to create room for the striker.
Janne Andersson’s team had been defensively solid in their run to the last eight, but poor marking at a corner cost them on the half-hour mark. Maguire was given space to thump a header into the left corner of the net to open the scoring.
Sterling should have doubled the Three Lions’ lead on the stroke of half-time after Jordan Henderson sent him clean through on goal with a ball over the top. But having rounded Robin Olsen, the winger dallied on the ball and saw his shot deflected wide of the near post from an angle on the right.
The Scandinavians almost hit back two minutes after the restart, though, when Marcus Berg got on the end of Ludwig Augustinsson’s cross on the left. However, Pickford pulled off a fine save to palm away the striker’s header.
The Brits then took grip of proceedings and after Jesse Lingard’s shot from 20 yards out on the left was deflected wide of the far post on 57 minutes, Alli gave them a two-goal cushion moments later. Lingard provided the assist with a clipped cross from the right that found Alli at the back post and the Tottenham midfielder guided a header past Olsen.
The Blagult looked for a quick response with a good move on the right involving Emil Forsberg and Berg presenting an opportunity for Claesson on 62 minutes, but Pickford produced another superb save to keep out his side-footed effort from 14 yards out.
Maguire skied his shot from seven yards out after a 66th-minute corner came out to him at the back post, while at the other end Pickford was forced to tip over Berg’s hooked shot from 12 yards out six minutes later as the Swedes pushed for a goal.
However, they failed to trouble England in the closing stages, with their best chance coming from a 90th-minute free-kick from Augustinsson that he curled well over the crossbar from 19 yards out on the right.