England beats Sweden to reach World Cup semi-finals
England, absent for decades from the top foray of soccer, a sport it founded over a century ago, is now among the final four of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
The English squad beat Sweden 2-0 in Samara Arena in the penultimate match of the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Headers from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli in minutes 30 and 59, respectively, gave England its first berth in the World Cup semifinals in 28 years.
Making it out of the group stage had been seen by observers as an achievement for the young English team. However, Gareth Southgate’s men continued to shine confidently against Sweden, forcing many to believe that they are even likely to clinch the title.
Sweden, a tough team that sailed to the final round of the World Cup this year past soccer powers like Italy, the Netherlands and Germany, was mostly disappointing through the Saturday game against England. The frosty Scandinavians produced several brilliant chances but they were all shut out by England’s goalie, Jordan Pickford.
Sweden reached the World Cup semifinals in the United States, where the tournament was held in 1994.
England should wait and see who wins the other and final clash at the quarter-finals later on Saturday between hosts Russia and Croatia to know their opponents in the semis. Reaching the final would be a first for England since they won the tournament at home in 1966.
A face-off with Russia would be politically interesting as it comes amid rising tensions between Moscow and London. British authorities had raised the possibility that England should boycott the World Cup after they blamed the Russians for poisoning a former spy in England, an accusation Moscow denied.
Prince William, a member of the British royal family who has boycotted the games in Russia as the President of the Football Association, congratulated English players on their historic achievement.
“You deserve this moment – Football’s Coming Home! W,” tweeted William from Kensington palace on Saturday.