England are through to the World Cup quarter-finals. The Three Lions were the better team against Colombia but it looked like it was going to be more heartbreak for England fans after Yerry Mina’s 93rd minute equaliser.
Gareth Southgate tried to inspire his troops to respond but England were dead on their feet in extra-time; the momentum was well and truly with Colombia.
Penalties were looming large and England supporters were getting anxious. With just one penalty shootout win in England’s history, fans were starting to believe that the Three Lions were doomed to another major tournament defeat.
Jordan Henderson’s miss put Colombia in the driving seat but Jordan Pickford produced a sublime stop to give Eric Dier the chance to send England into the quarter-finals.
The Tottenham Hotspur man duly obliged to send millions of fans around the world into raptures. For the players though, the immediate focus now turns to Saturday’s clash with Sweden.
Harry Kane: A Man Possessed
How good was Harry Kane on Tuesday night? Criticised by some for his lack of influence and impact outside of the penalty area, the Spurs man’s holdup play was sublime – winning fouls in key areas of the pitch.
With six goals in four matches this summer, Kane is clear in the race for the Golden Boot. At the time of writing, he is 7/20 to finish as the top goal scorer and he could be England’s main difference maker again on Saturday afternoon.
Sweden are very strong at the back but Kane has the talent to exploit their weaknesses. With the right service from the likes of Jesse Lingard and Raheem Sterling, Kane could shine once again.
The Tottenham star became the first England player to score in six successive games since 1939 with that goal against Colombia and he is 21/20 to extend that run here.
Don’t Risk Alli, Give Loftus-Cheek A Go
Dele Alli struggled to make a substantial impact on Tuesday evening and he was substituted with less than 10 minutes remaining. The Spurs man was some way below his influential best and Southgate may turn to Ruben Loftus-Cheek this weekend.
The Chelsea man was impressive in the group stages and he could be the man to unlock this solid Sweden defence. Loftus-Cheek is playing with a chip on his shoulder after commenting on his lack of game time at Chelsea and he will be looking to shine once again.
Should he start, 9/2 for Loftus-Cheek to receive a yellow card is well worth considering. Referees may be much stricter now that yellow cards have been wiped out at the quarter-final stage.
Not renowned for being a particularly aggressive player, he may be tasked with preventing any swift Sweden counter attacks and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him take one for the team.
No Room For Complacency At This Stage
Sweden are no slouches – Janne Andersson’s side are in the last eight on merit. It seems like an eternity ago now but the Swedes came within a whisker of drawing with Germany; a more clinical approach in the final third might have seen them win that encounter.
At 8/11 to score at least once, Sweden are worth considering. Most punters will fancy England to reach the semi-finals but Sweden will try to frustrate the Three Lions – Southgate’s side must stay patient if an early goal eludes them.
The nation is dreaming of World Cup glory and a place in the semi-finals beckons for Gareth Southgate’s England. Fans will be hoping for a more comfortable afternoon this weekend but with England, you never know.
13/10 for the Three Lions to score two or more goals should be snapped up in my opinion – Southgate will have his troops ready for battle. You won't want to miss this one...
TIP: Over 1.5 England goals @ 13/10
LONGSHOT: England to win 3-1 and Harry Kane to score anytime @ 24/1
CORRECT SCORE: Sweden 1-2 England (Priced at 17/2 with 888sport)
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*