Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist ready to miss the birth of second child to play England
Sweden’s captain Andreas Granqvist has said that he will not miss Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against England even if it clashes with the birth of his second child.
Granqvist has been a talismanic figure during this tournament in a Swedish defence that has conceded only two goals in four games and which, even before arriving in Russia, had eliminated both Holland and Italy.
His wife was due to give birth on Tuesday and, while he may now briefly return home ahead of Saturday’s match against England in Samara, he has promised that he will lead Sweden in their first World Cup quarter-final since 1994.
"We'll see when it's time,” said Granqvist, who played in the 1-0 last 16 win against Switzerland. "I fully focus on the match on Saturday. If I have the position to fly home quickly back and forth then I may do that. But, whatever happens, I do not miss the quarter-final.”
Granqvist also said that Sweden have become a better team following the international retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
"We have built a foundation in the last two years through the qualifiers,” he said. “We fight for each other and as team we know when we do that we get good results. We have stepped forwards despite losing one of the world's best football players."
Leipzig winger Emil Forsberg, who scored Sweden’s winning goal in their last 16 match against Switzerland, added: “We didn’t give them any opportunities. I am so proud. It brings tears to my eyes. It is important to believe in what we do. We really believe in what we are doing in defence and attack. It is proof that what we are doing is really good. I am so happy and proud and it is pushing us to achieve more.”
England manager Gareth Southgate had earlier this week told Fabian Delph to return home to be with his wife ahead of the birth of their child. “Some things in life are more important than football,” said Southgate. "Everybody says you only get one chance to be in a World Cup, but also there's only one day in your life when your children are born.”