England vs Sweden: Cool Kane the class act in cagey quarter-final
England vs Sweden Match Preview and Predictions
England are odds-on favourites to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since Italia 90 heading into their meeting with Sweden in Samara.
The Three Lions won only the second penalty shoot-out in their history to finally overcome Colombia and now have, according to the odds at least, an easier task ahead of them against fellow European opposition.
Sweden have already got past the Netherlands, Italy and Germany to reach the last eight in Russia, though - the first time they have made the World Cup quarter-finals since 1994.
England vs Sweden Betting Tips
England have a dismal record in penalty shoot-outs but their nerve from the spot has been key to them reaching the quarter-finals.
Three of Harry Kane's six goals have been from the spot and conceding an injury-time equaliser against Colombia meant they also needed to win only their second shoot-out in eight attempts to secure their progress.
That set up a meeting with Sweden at the World Cup finals for the third time, with their two previous clashes in 2002 and 2006 having ended all square during the group stages.
Sweden edged out Switzerland 1-0 in the last round, giving us three correct predictions including a 13/2 winner, although they enjoyed some fortune with Emil Forsberg's goal taking a deflection off defender Manuel Akanji.
We thought England could come unstuck against Colombia and were almost proved right despite the absence of James Rodriguez but Sweden's 4-4-2 formation should pose a more familiar test and Gareth Southgate's men look to have extra quality in all areas.
Sweden are the outsiders at 25/1 to win the World Cup and we're backing England to get through in 90 minutes at 19/20 as the first of our England vs Sweden betting tips.
First goalscorer tips
Kane already has six goals to his name at the World Cup and is eyeing the Golden Boot as well as being the captain to lead England to World Cup glory.
His nerve from the penalty spot, and the physicality of the defending used against England at set-pieces, have been key factors but he is the obvious pick to open the scoring at 13/5, having done so in two of his three matches while scoring a hat-trick in the other.
Anytime goalscorer tips
England have focused on set-pieces under Southgate and have been reaping the rewards in Russia, with Kane and John Stones the main beneficiaries so far.
Harry Maguire was also an aerial threat against Colombia and at slightly longer odds than his fellow defender Stones, he is the value pick at 12/1.
Where the game will be won or lost
Sweden's progress to the quarter-finals has been thanks mainly to a defence which has kept three clean sheets in four matches.
Germany are the only team to have broken them down, and that was not until they went behind and began to take more risks, with Sweden having scored the first goal in all four matches.
That has been the case for England in three matches too, with the goal conceded by a second-string team in the final group game against Belgium the only time they have been behind.
Both teams look more threatening in the early stages and the first goal looks vital. England may start feeling the effects of Monday's extra time as the match goes on so more goals in the first half at 43/20 merits inclusion in our England vs Sweden predictions.
The reward at stake for the winners could make this a scrappy affair but Kane's presence means England have the one player who could make the difference and the last of our World Cup betting tips for this quarter-final is England to win 1-0 at 19/4.
England striker Jamie Vardy is a doubt with a groin strain while Dele Alli, Kyle Walker and Ashley Young also suffered knocks against Colombia. Fabian Delph has rejoined the squad after returning home for the birth of his daughter.
Sweden are nursing a couple of players through injury ahead of the match. Albin Ekdal has had x-rays on a foot problem while fellow midfielder Jimmy Durmaz also missed training on Wednesday because of a minor issue with his hip. Mikael Lustig is banned but Sebastian Larsson returns after serving a suspension against Switzerland.
Traders' Tips - View from the trading floor
Whilst the nation has been swept up in World Cup fever, our tip for this game is ultimately a triumph of head over heart. England have never beaten Sweden in the World Cup and despite this England team showing plenty of promise, we're backing Sweden's resolute defence and tactical organisation to see them through to their first World Cup semi-finals since 1994. Sweden to qualify looks the bet at 7/4.
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