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England qualify for World Cup semi-finals after 2-0 win over Sweden

England and Sweden compete for a place in the semi-final
England and Sweden compete for a place in the semi-final Copyright REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Copyright REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
By Alexander Macrae
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England will face either Russia or Croatia in the semi-finals


England comfortably secured a spot into the World Cup semi-finals on Saturday with a 2-0 victory over Sweden, thanks to goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli.

They will meet either Russia or Croatia in the semi-finals.

The two teams met at the Samara Arena. England came through a tough game against Colombia in the last 16, drawing 1-1 before winning their first ever World Cup penalty shootout to come through.

Sweden overcame Switzerland in their round of 16 game with a 1-0 victory. They were very impressive in the group stages, topping a quartet that included defending champions Germany and Mexico.

5 things to take away from Sweden V England

**Maguire's performance **

Harry Maguire has been excellent throughout this World Cup, he has defended well, been excellent on the ball especially when bringing it out of defence and into midfield and he now has a goal to add to his list of accolades. 

Maguire fits perfectly into the back three that England are employing and aerially he has been very solid, this in particular was tested today against a very physical Swedish side but he coped with it well and at times was winning everything that came near him. 

Now that England are into the semi final Maguire will become even more important for them, he will be tested more and more and if England want to win the trophy his form will have to continue.

**Jordan Pickford **

In the last round against Colombia Pickford was the hero of the penalty shoot-out, and after some criticism in the opening couple of games you felt he needed that for his confidence. 

Now that Pickford has gained some confidence we are seeing the talent he possesses, against Sweden Pickford made three very good saves, in particular the header from berg right after half time and the shot from Claesson. 

The Everton goalkeeper is showing his worth and without him the game with Sweden may have been very different, and with England progressing in the tournament they will hope Pickford can carry on the way he is.

**Swedish performance **

Many fans came into the game expecting Sweden to cause England some problems, they are physical, tough to break down and created chances on the break. But we didn't really see any of that, they created some chances yes, and if it wasn't for Pickford they would have scored a goal or two, but the performance wasn't really there. 

It is disappointing to see a team leave the World Cup in that way without really making much of a bang on their way out, but at least they will be remembered for their performances up to the England game, which filled their fans with such pleasure.

**A long time coming **

England fans are used to disappointment on the international stage, they've seen plenty of that, but they aren't used to seeing their country in a World Cup semi-final. England have only ever made it to two World Cup semi-finals, the last time was 28 years ago in 1990. 


Plenty of England fans weren't born when that happened so this really is a special event for many of them and it may yet become even more special if England can beat either Croatia or Russia...

**Is football coming home? **

If you've been anywhere near English twitter over the last week or so you'll have seen how many people believe that football is coming home. The chant is everywhere, it's been dubbed over all sorts of videos and the victory over Sweden will only increase the excitement of fans in England. One thing to think about though, how mad will it get if football does actually "come home"?

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