England produced a dominant performance to beat Sweden 2-0 in their World Cup quarter-final in Samara.
Headed goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli ensured England’s dreams of a second World Cup are still alive, as they now prepare for a first semi-final in the tournament for 28 years.
Set pieces were pivotal once more to their latest triumph as Maguire’s opener after 30 minutes arrived from Ashley Young’s corner.
Alli nodded in England’s second from Jesse Lingard’s cross to put Gareth Southgate’s men in complete control and they head to the Luzhniki Stadium next Wednesday full of confidence.
But who impressed the most and why? Here are our player ratings.
Jordan Pickford – 9
In some respects, this was a comfortable win for England but the fact that Jordan Pickford was named as the official man of the match proves that the goalkeeper still had plenty to do. His save from Marcus Berg down to his left early in the second half was remarkable but the one to his right from Viktor Claesson might have been even better. Huge performance.
Kieran Trippier – 7
Kieran Trippier continues to impress as England’s outlet on the right flank, having more touches of the ball than anyone else on the pitch, and this was another good performance from the Tottenham player. He saw one first-half cross deflected into the goalkeeper’s hands when well placed but got forward well throughout and played a part in the clean sheet too.
Ashley Young – 7
Ashley Young got the nod ahead of Danny Rose once again at left wing-back and justified his inclusion with the assist for Harry Maguire’s opening goal from a corner. Young did not have too much to deal with defensively so the onus was more on his effective use of the ball and he delivered – completing 91.3 per cent of his passes, the best among England’s back five.
John Stones – 7
Another strong display from John Stones at the heart of England’s defence. His passing accuracy was the pick of the defenders on the pitch but that has come to be expected by the Manchester City man. More important against Sweden was his ability to cope with the physical threat and only Maguire won more aerial duels on the day.
Kyle Walker – 7
There were a few sloppy passed from Kyle Walker – three of them in the first six minutes, in fact – but he recovered to play an important role in England’s victory. With 87 touches of the ball, Walker was always involved and his partnership with Trippier on England’s right side has emerged as one of the team’s strongest weapons at this World Cup.
Harry Maguire – 9
The scorer of England’s opening goal and an impressive figure at both ends of the pitch, Maguire is having quite the World Cup. Typically, he won more aerial duels than any other player but he also played more key passes than anyone else on the pitch too. Maguire has physicality coupled with composure in possession and has become vital to England.
Jordan Henderson – 7
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson shrugged off the sight of his penalty against Colombia being saved to get through another mountain of work in the England midfield. He was able to get on the ball much more in this game and played one brilliant lofted through-ball late in the first half from which Raheem Sterling should have doubled England’s lead.
Jesse Lingard – 7
Perhaps the pick of the midfielders, Jesse Lingard enjoyed a fine game with his trademark energy and running from deep to the fore throughout. He had the most shots of anyone on the pitch and completed twice as many dribbles as anyone else too. The assist for Dele Alli’s goal was his and he was still going at the very end, exploiting the space between the lines.
Dele Alli – 7
The subject of much debate over his place in this side, Alli endured a tough start to the game but came through that to score England’s second goal and end his long wait for a goal. Alli had not scored in his previous 18 appearances for England but his header – ghosting in at the back post – was him at his best and a reminder of what he can bring to this team.
Raheem Sterling – 7
This was a game that will have added fuel to the fire for Raheem Sterling’s critics – a spurned one-on-one chance late in the second half means his wait for an England goal extends to 24 games – but there were plenty of positives too. Sterling’s pace and movement are important components to this England team and his role should not be underestimated.
Harry Kane – 7
One goal for Harry Kane is all he needs to become England’s record scorer in a single World Cup but he was restricted to one shot against Sweden – a effort from distance that was dragged just wide of the post. Chances from open play are still at a premium but Kane dropped off well and delivered an unselfish performance to help his team into the last four.
After missing the Colombia game to witness the birth of his child, Fabian Delph was back in the team to get some minutes in England’s midfield – introduced for Alli after 77 minutes.
Eric Dier was England’s penalty hero against Colombia but it was a bit less tense for him against Sweden, coming on for Henderson with five minutes of the game remaining.
The introduction of Marcus Rashford ensured that everyone who scored a penalty for England in the last round got time on the pitch in Samara but it was only a stoppage-time appearance for the forward.