England can count themselves lucky to be in this position. After wins against Tunisia and Panama and a ‘tactical loss’ to Belgium in the group stage, the Three Lions knew they were well placed in the easier side of the draw. Russia’s win over Spain meant that they would not need to face another World Cup winner en route to a possible final appearance, and the nation was getting their collective hopes up.
But as always, England forgot to focus on what was directly in front of them, and were fortunate to survive against Colombia. In a slow and sometimes spiteful match, England took the lead from the spot before going into self-destruct mode and trying to defend for thirty minutes. Colombia claimed a deserved equaliser minutes before the full-time whistle, and the game was headed to penalties. The rest is history.
Sweden are also fortunate to be here, although in truth dominated the majority of their fixture against Switzerland in the Round of 16. Like England, Sweden made a breakthrough in the second half, coming via a horrible deflection. They had been the more industrious side in the opening hour, although they were wasteful in front of goal.
Again, like England, Sweden then tried to defend their 1-0 lead and were lucky to do so as wave after wave of Swiss attacks came at them. In the end, the goal was enough, and Sweden will play in a WC quarter-final for the first time since 1994.
England and Sweden have met on several occasions, so we will focus on their competitive history when reviewing their head to head record. Sweden is on top, having won twice and lost once, while there have been five draws between the teams. England won the last tournament match, a 3-2 win at the 2012 Euros, while the only two meetings between the sides at the World Cup have ended in draws.
Despite their lack of productivity in the Round of 16, we’re tipping goals in this match. Sweden should have scored about five in the first half against Switzerland, while England have enough talent in the final third to cause Sweden problems. An early goal to the Scandinavians will really open this match up, and that’s exactly what we think may happen.
In terms of odds, England are surprisingly the clear favourite, priced at -113. The draw can be obtained for +232, while Sweden are value outsiders at +336. It’s a big call, but we are going to go with the favourites and predict an English win. We can’t see Sweden being held scoreless in this match (they have managed a goal in every match so far) so we’re tipping a 2-1 result.