Friday 20 July 2018

Alan Shearer hails England after World Cup quarter-final win against Sweden

The Three Lions beat Sweden 2-0 in Samara.

England are into the last four of the World Cup (Tim Goode/PA)
England are into the last four of the World Cup (Tim Goode/PA)

By Press Association Sport staff

Former captain Alan Shearer lauded England’s “professional” and “thorough” performance after they beat Sweden 2-0 to book a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

Harry Maguire scored in the first half and Dele Alli in the second in Samara as the Three Lions moved into the competition’s last four for the first time since 1990.

Gareth Southgate’s side will now face Croatia in Moscow on Wednesday night.

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Harry Maguire scored England’s first goal against Sweden (Owen Humphrys/PA).

Shearer said on BBC One afterwards: “Amazing. What a performance. Professional, thorough. Every single player played their part.

“(Jordan) Pickford was outstanding in goal when he had to be. I thought Harry Maguire was superb, (Jordan) Henderson…what a shift he put in in midfield. John Stones, Deli got his goal. All of them were absolutely magnificent and thoroughly deserved it.

“Their attitude from the very first moment they arrived at this World Cup to now has been first-class and I didn’t ever feel anything other than we are going to win this game, we are going to get to a semi-final.

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Dele Alli’s header made it 2-0 (Tim Goode/PA)

“I never felt nervous at all during the game and that is how comfortable they made us feel.”

He added: “I thought coming into the tournament that we could get to perhaps the quarter-final, but they have just got a momentum, a team spirit that is just dragging them through, and I thought it was their best performance tonight.

“They were so comfortable, they managed the game superbly well, they did what they had to do, they saw the game through and it was very, very thorough and professional.”

Pickford, who made a superb save in the last-16 penalty shoot-out triumph over Colombia, pulled off a number of impressive stops against the Swedes.

Shearer’s fellow BBC pundit Rio Ferdinand, another man who has skippered England, said of Pickford: “If you’re going to be successful at tournaments you need your goalkeeper to stand firm and what he has showed here is great character and personality, and the confidence that has come out of that penalty save is so apparent within this game.”

Ferdinand was full of praise for Maguire as well, saying he thought the Leicester centre-back was “immense” in both boxes and describing him as “someone who is indispensable I think in this team at the moment.”

He also defended Raheem Sterling, who produced some unconvincing finishing, saying: “Every one of that back four for Sweden will come off the pitch knowing they have had a game against Raheem Sterling.

“He puts in a shift like not many others on the park in terms of running in behind, turning and facing defenders and making them go on the backfoot.”

Regarding Southgate, Ferdinand added: “I think a lot of people were sceptical when he got the job just under two years ago – is he going to be strong enough, is he going to be able to make the big decisions? He has answered that. He has told people ‘yes I am’.

“There is a steeliness behind that chilled out persona he gives out and he is making the right decisions on a consistent basis and has got these boys all in now to what he is putting down.”

Shearer then said with a smile: “It’s magnificent. Thoroughly deserved. It’s coming home – I’ll end on that!”

Press Association

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