England v Sweden: Southgate May Need to Shuffle Pack for Swedish Test
The outpouring of sheer emotion following England’s penalty kicks victory over Colombia was evident far beyond Moscow itself.
Pubs, nightclubs and various other congregation points across the length and breadth of the nation celebrated as if the World Cup was actually won when Eric Dier placed the final spot-kick past David Ospina to break Colombian hearts on Tuesday night.
Swedish supporters held their own jubilations just hours earlier as Emil Forsberg struck the solitary goal as they eliminated previously impressive Switzerland in Saint Petersburg.
Samara is the venue for this hugely important Quarter-Final clash on Saturday afternoon – kick-off: 15:00 GMT with the hot temperatures likely to take their toll as the game progresses.
Early Team News
England face several injury concerns leading up to their first last-eight outing at a World Cup since Germany 2006. Jamie Vardy was expected to take one of the five penalties against Colombia but pulled his groin minutes before the extra-time period ended, so the Leicester striker was not risked. Vardy has had an injection to alleviate the problem but his participation is doubtful at this stage.
Dele Alli continues to have thigh problems and could be replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Fellow Spurs man, Harry Kane has a stiff back, while Kyle Walker and Ashley Young came off with cramp issues late on Tuesday evening although the trio are expected to play at this stage.
Sweden has no major injury concerns to report; however, Mikael Lustig will miss the game on Saturday through suspension. The Celtic defender picked up his second yellow card of the tournament in the 32nd minute of Tuesday’s win for a pull on Josip Drmic. Lustig is likely to be replaced by Emil Krath.
Gareth Southgate’s side are the favourites to progress to the Semi-final stage of the World Cup, but since the odds were released for this game, England are on the drift with the bookmakers. Black Type offer the best industry price on a win inside normal time on the Three Lions of 49/50. MarathonBet are top-priced on the Draw at 121/50, while a Sweden victory can be taken again with MarathonBet at 39/10.
If we take a brief look at the To Qualify market, it has England as 4/9 favourites to progress, while Sweden are a generally available 2/1 chance to reach the final four. In terms of the Outright Market to lift the World Cup, England are best priced 9/2 with Black Type, while Sweden are rank outsiders at 25/1 with several firms including Betway and 888 Sport.
The first thing to focus on this game is how Sweden, under Head Coach, Janne Andersson will set-up his team. The Scandinavian side will a very difficult proposition for England to break down and the Swedes will be dangerous on the break. Man-for-man, England have the better players, but Sweden could well be a match for Southgate’s men long into the game, in what could be a low-scoring affair and perhaps, yet another penalty shootout.
Individual Goal Scorers
England captain, Harry Kane is on a roll. He is currently two clear of his nearest rival, Romelu Lukaku for the Golden Boot on six goals, and the Tottenham man is likely to be England’s main threat once again. MarathonBet are yet again best price on this market for Kane to score first in the game at 31/10, while other bookmakers are all below the 3/1 mark.
Raheem Sterling has yet to find the back of the net in the tournament, but Southgate is obviously suited with the Manchester City man’s form, and he could reward his manager at 8/1 — yet again with MarathonBet.
Sweden’s first contender in the betting comes from striker, Marcus Berg, who is a 9/1 shot with 10Bet. Berg has yet to find the net in the tournament so far and is passed over. A sensible Swedish option would be captain, Andreas Granqvist, who in spite of being a central defender, has two goals from the penalty spot in the tournament. At 16/1 with Boylesports and Betway, he looks to be one of the Swedes’ better chances.
Others to consider for England would come from Marcus Rashford – provided he starts the game – at 6/1 with MarathonBet. Readers of our previous betting preview of the Colombia game would know I tipped-up Kieran Trippier at 50/1 for his free kick ability. I’m prepared to go in again at the same odds with Ladbrokes and William Hill, while Sun Bets go a ridiculous price of 28/1 on the Spurs full back To Score at any time inside ninety minutes.
Other Side Bets
The odds on UNDER 2.5 Goals are rather short in this game – but for very good reason. The Swedes are an obdurate outfit who could take England to extra time and beyond for the second time in four days. Italy tried and failed in their two World Cup play-off games to breach the Swedish rear guard, which only highlights their defensive strength. At 14/25 with MarathonBet, less than three goals in this game is a likely winner and should be a bet to keep onside.
I have a ready preference for a Draw in this contest at the end of full-time. With that in mind, another 1-1 Correct Score bet after ninety minutes could once again prove profitable. SportingBet is the place to get this punt on at the top price available of 25/4.
- UNDER 2.5 Goals at 14/25 with MarathonBet
- Draw Full-Time result at 121/50 with MarathonBet
- Correct Score of 1-1 at 90 minutes with SportingBet