Sweden concede gracefully to England quarter-final defeat

England are in with a huge chance of making it to the World Cup final for the first time since

England are in with a huge chance of making it to the World Cup final for the first time since

"England were the best team today".

There was emotional scenes in Russian Federation and at home among the England fans, who have long suffered from tournament heartbreak. More than 24 million watched their dramatic penalties win over Colombia to reach the last eight.

Sweden were a far cry from the side that denied Holland qualification to the World Cup, knocked Italy out of the play-offs and prevented holders Germany making it out of their group.

Centre-back Maguire connected with an Ashley Young corner to score his first worldwide goal and reward England for their more adventurous approach in a largely cautious first half.

Sweden have never won a World Cup game in which they trailed at half-time, and they rarely looked like addressing that statistic here.

Leicester defender Maguire headed in the opening goal from a corner on 30 minutes, with Alli adding a second just before the hour.

"We're not a team where we just turn up and we're waltzing around, strolling around and we've got an entitlement", he told reporters, before referring back to the lower-league roots that have helped to shape a number of his players and staff.

But he stuck to his guns and will now have an ever greater belief that trying to fit Dele, Sterling and Jesse Lingard into the same team can work.

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"As an attacking player, you want to score goals so I did want one for England", he admitted.

The fear was England would pay the price but Pickford made the first of his hat-trick of saves as Sweden finally responded when Marcus Berg met a cross, above Young, and the goalkeeper dived to his left to push the header out one-handed.

"To throw me in with no really big game experience as they call it".

Sterling's movement was very good, though, causing Sweden's slow defense problems throughout.

England have not varied their tactics much during this World Cup and that was again the case against Sweden who deployed their usual 4-4-2 and set the challenge of being breached.

This time he was onside but perhaps clouded by his long wait for a goal, Sterling decided against passing to an open team-mate and instead saw a shot deflected behind by Andreas Granqvist.

And while both teams, drinking side-by-side, were civil enough during the game. "You have to respect you are faced with a good keeper", Andersson said.

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