England Advances To 2018 World Cup Semifinals With 2-0 Win Over Sweden

By Fitzgerald Cecilio
on Jul 08, 2018 09:15 AM EDT
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Harry Maguire and Dele Alli both scored on headers in each half to lift England to a 2-0 triumph over Sweden in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 World Cup at Samara Arena.

With the win, the Three Lions reached their first World Cup semifinal since making it to the final four in Italy in 1990. England will next take on Croatia, which edged host Russia via penalties in the other quarterfinal match on Saturday.

Harry Maguire Scores First International Goal

After a tight battle, Maguire put the Three Lions on the board in the 30th minute with his first international goal. Dele made it a two-goal advantage for England in the 59th minute as they cruised to victory.

Dele's tally was England's 11th in the tournament, matching the Three Lions' record for the most goal at a single World Cup when they lifted the trophy for the first time in 1966.

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was also instrumental in the Three Lions' win as he made several crucial saves against Sweden en route to the Three Lions' first clean sheet in the tournament.

In the 30th minute, Maguire eluded his defender and timely headed home Ashley Young's floater to give England a 1-0 advantage. In the second half, Sweden had a chance to tie the game, but Pickford was there to stop Marcus Berg's header.

Dele made it a two-goal game when he headed home a cross by Jesse Lingard. Dele's goal was England's fifth headed tally at Russia 2018. Then, England held on to the lead, behind several Pickford's saves to punch a ticket to the semifinals.

England Goalie Wants To Create Own History

"This is where I want to be. I just want to be playing in the biggest matches against big teams. I just keep myself level-headed and do my best for the team," Pickford, who wasn't even born when England last reached a World Cup semifinal, says after the victory.

In their next game against Croatia, the 24-year-old Pickford said they want to make their own history, but they will do it one game at a time. England manager Gareth Southgate praised Pickford's efforts against Sweden, saying he should be a model for aspiring goalkeepers.

"Pickford, for me, is a sort of prototype of what a modern goalkeeper should be," said Southgate. "The number of touches goalkeepers have with their feet is exceptionally high in the modern game."

Southgate's leadership is seen as one of the keys to England's success in the World Cup. According to some of his players, Southgate has created a family environment with the team.

"He's brought in a lot of new ideas in the two years since he came in," England defender John Stones says. "We're seeing the results of those, the togetherness of the team, the spirit, the hunger."

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