England produced a solid display against Sweden on Saturday and even though captain Harry Kane failed to add to his six goal tally, Maguire and Alli stepped up to take England forward.
Luc Jones said he had been disappointed in past England players being more “into their haircuts or their pop celebrity girlfriend or their new sports vehicle than actually kicking the ball”. We know we’ve got a hard game coming up but we’re ready for it. “Onwards” they declare as Maguire leads the celebrations after “England march into the semis” for the first time in 28 years.
England’s deep run also is a surprise.
KEY STAT: This was Sweden’s third loss in four games against England, after going 12 matches unbeaten against them between 1976 and 2006.
The celebrations cut across England as rowdy fans took to the streets, with videos showing fans in Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham all focusing their attention on buses and bus stops.
“I am not sure anything went wrong, as such”, he said.
Robin Olsen and Victor Lindelof had impressive performances but it wasn’t enough.
There was another against Sweden, with Maguire heading in a driven corner from Ashley Young in the 30th minute.
But he stressed that, despite the elimination of a host of big names from the tournament in Russia, England would be taking nothing for granted.
“We have two matches to play and we are very motivated”. We knew what would hurt them and what we’d worked on. In the end, England’s greater professionalism and firepower saw it through as it won only its second competitive game against the Scandinavian nation. I’m proud over my team, I’m proud over my country and if we can do this with football, let us spread this love even without. It gives me the shivers when I think about it.
Only Owen, who netted as an 18-year-old at France 98, has scored a World Cup goal for England at a younger age but rather than basking in the moment, Alli was holding himself to higher standards.
Sweden finally showed some bite with Marcus Berg forcing Jordan Pickford to dive to his right and keep out a bouncing header in the second minute of the final half. He wrote, “Every player should get a golden ball in Sweden”. He is likely to retain his starting place for the semifinals.
And it is a step that has tripped England up so many times. – Sweden manager Janne Andersson. “I wanted to say that already on the pitch, too, to our players”.