Saturday 21 July 2018

5 Things to look out for at the World Cup tomorrow

England, Sweden, Russia and Croatia head into quarter-final battle.

Manager Gareth Southgate is hoping to lead England to the World Cup semi-finals (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Manager Gareth Southgate is hoping to lead England to the World Cup semi-finals (Owen Humphreys/PA)

By Damian Spellman, Press Association Sport

England go into battle with Sweden on Saturday as they target a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at what is happening in Russia with the business end of the tournament fast approaching.

Swede dreams for Harry

England skipper Harry Kane heads into battle with Sweden having already scored six goals and knowing the Golden Boot could be within his grasp if he adds to his tally when it matters the most. However, that may be easier said than done with only deposed champions Germany having managed to score against Janne Andersson’s men in their four games to date.

Jor country needs you

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England keeper Jordan Pickford makes a stunning save against Colombia (Victor R. Caivano/AP)

If Eric Dier claimed the headlines for his decisive penalty against Colombia, keeper Jordan Pickford was not far behind after he repelled Carlos Bacca’s attempt to give the Tottenham man a chance to make a name for himself. However, the save he made from Mateus Uribe’s speculative effort seconds before Yerry Mina equalised was remarkable and Gareth Southgate will hope his last line of defence is in that kind of form once again.

At least HE isn’t there

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Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates completing his hat-trick against England (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Sweden have proved difficult opponents for England in the past and are sure to do so once again with Marcus Berg, Emil Forsberg and Ola Toivonen among their threats. However, at least they will not have to contend with a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who enjoyed himself the last time the sides met in a friendly in November 2012, scoring all four goals in a 4-2 victory, an individual haul which was capped by an unforgettable overhead effort.

Home comforts

Hosts Russia were written off as potential winners before a ball was kicked, but have more than made a fist of it since. Their last 16 victory over Spain, which came courtesy of a penalty shoot-out, may not have been pretty, but they have proved redoubtable opponents in front of home crowds invigorated by their progression and will hope to use that to their advantage once again with Croatia standing in their way.

Luka back in anger

Posted by Hrvatski nogometni savez on Thursday, July 5, 2018

Luka Modric is Croatia’s heartbeat and there were few inside the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Sunday evening who expected anything other than to see the net bulge after he stepped up to take what would almost certainly have been a decisive extra-time penalty. Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichel’s save took the last 16 clash to a shoot-out in which Modric did beat him, but the Real Madrid man is unlikely to be so profligate again if given another opportunity.

Press Association

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