A World Cup Abstract: England 2, Sweden 0
Posted: Sat Jul 7, 2018 4:55 pm
- Harry scored.
- That’s a compulsory action for this England side.
- England advancing to the semifinals of the World Cup, this 2018 World Cup, with a Harry Maguire goal, his first for country, off a corner pick is apropos.
- Jordan Pickford was undeniably outstanding for England.
- But Sweden had very few ideas going forward and hardly challenged England. Sweden was bland and dispassionate.
- England’s 3-5-2 completely bossed Sweden’s previously impenetrable 4-4-2.
- To fight the well-earned and not at all exaggerated narrative that this side of the bracket is the Eastern Conference of the World Cup, England actually scored a beautiful open play goal with a perfectly placed ball from Jesse Lingard to Dele Alli.
- Sweden gave Lingard all the space in the world at the edge of the box to play that cross to Alli.
- That goal was England’s first open play goal since the Panama match when they won 6-1.
- That feels about as long ago as the last time England reached the semifinals in 1990.
- Kieran Trippier has become essential for England in this World Cup. England can thank Mauricio Pochettino for turning Trippier into one of the world’s best right backs at the age of 27.
- Raheem Sterling flushed two chances but he played exceptionally well if Gareth Southgate remains focused on process over results. Benching him in favor of Marcus Rashford for the semifinal would be a mistake.
- The combination of constant movement from Sterling and Lingard gave England tremendous comfort and space in possession.
- The modulation of how this England team has been received at home compared to previous generations of similar talent shouldn’t really matter, but it does in these short tournaments. They are more likable, but these results were also unexpected following their Euro exit in 2016 to Iceland. Expectations will be recalibrated in 2020 regardless of what happens in their next two matches and some level of harmful self-consciousness they’re not burdened with right now could emerge. Even if they continue to improve, they will never have an easier path with how the brackets broke.
- Losing to Belgium was still their biggest win.
- This side feels destined.