World Cup 2018: Quarter-finals #2 – What is your prediction?

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It’s day 2 for the Quarter-finals in Russia as the tournament continues to unveil more surprises…

Sweden V England

England will attempt to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time in 28 years when they meet Sweden on Saturday.

The Three Lions knocked out Colombia in an fiery last 16 affair as they won a World Cup penalty shootout for the first time ever.

Gareth Southgate’s side will now look to make more history against the Swedes, who are playing in their first World Cup quarter-final since 1994.

Sweden have a proud record against England in competitive football, losing only once in eight games.

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Emil Forsberg celebrates after scoring for Sweden in the second half. Credit Darko Bandic/Associated Press

Sweden head coach Janne Andersson: “I grew up in the 70s and we used to follow English football. It was only one televised match a week in those day.

“I grew up with this and England was my second nation. It’s a wonderful feeling to face them as head coach of the Swedish team.

“But football has developed a great deal. What they still have is the heart and the spirit of fighting. I have always appreciated that but it’s not the England I grew up watching.”

England manager Gareth Southgate: “Although our team will be better in two years with more life experience, maybe the cards on injuries and things won’t fall as kindly and we won’t get this opportunity again.

“It’s dangerous if I start to get carried away, but I’m proud of the way we’re playing.”

England captain Harry Kane on the spirit in the camp: “We are just like family really. It is about togetherness and trust. I look at them like my brothers and they look at me the same. We will do anything for each other.

“It was great to come through that game the other night and just to see the joy in everyone’s faces. We have worked so hard to come through that and it makes us even more proud of each other.”

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Harry Kane leads England against a tough Sweden squad in the round of 8 at the 2018 World Cup.
Alexander Nemenov / AFP/Getty Images

Team News

Sweden right-back Mikael Lustig is banned after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament and is expected to be replaced by Emil Krafth.

However, midfielder Sebastian Larsson returns from suspension and will come back into the side for Gustav Svensson.

England forward Jamie Vardy is a major doubt because of the groin strain he suffered against Colombia.

Ashley Young has overcome an ankle knock sustained in that game while Kyle Walker is fully recovered from cramp.

Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Kyle Walker are a booking away from missing a potential semi-final for England.

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Russia V Croatia

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic is confident his side can handle the atmosphere as they take on hosts Russia for a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

Croatia will come up against a partisan Russian crowd in their last eight-tie in Sochi on Saturday evening.

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Croatia beat Denmark on penalties to reach the last eight (AP)

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Dalic said: “We cannot choose our opponents, hosts or otherwise. We are facing a huge game in the quarter-finals and it doesn’t matter who the opponents are.

“The only difference is they will have vociferous fans but every week our team plays with opposing fans howling at them. It shouldn’t be a problem.

“We will not be looking for excuses. We have to play our own game regardless of who is in the stands.”

Russia’s run to the quarter-finals, which included a shock defeat of Spain in the last round, has been unexpected. Croatia will go into the game as favourites but Dalic is not underestimating the hosts.

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Russia players celebrate after beating Spain on penalties in the last 16 of the World Cup
Source: SkySports

A victory would see Croatia emulate the achievement of their 1998 side in reaching the last four.

Dalic said: “That was a great success for Croatia as a nation. We are on the right track to repeat that feat but it is not going to be easy.

“We have to find the motivation to play a good game and progress against a very respected host nation.”

Team News

Yuri Zhirkov, who began Russia’s last game at left wing-back, is ruled out with a calf problem.

Alan Dzagoev, who has not played since damaging his hamstring in the opening match, could come back into contention despite a back problem.

Croatia’s Ivan Strinic appeared to be nursing an injury when he was subbed after 81 minutes against Denmark, but is expected to be available.

Mateo Kovacic, who has been troubled by a shoulder problem, should also be fit.

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Who do you think has what it takes to advance through to eventually play France or Belgium in the Final? Click here! 

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