More Than Just A Win For England As They Go Through To Meet Sweden In The World Cup Quarter-Finals

Posted: July 5, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, International Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, The World Cup, Tottenham Hotspur, Transfers
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The early game this time out was the one between Sweden and Switzerland and was always going to be a close run thing due to the two sides being of similar quality.

Sweden, post-Zlatan, look more of a team now than when the big striker was insisting on being the star man but, on the other hand, they don’t appear to have anybody with a magical touch who can turn a game for them.

That necessity didn’t arise during their match with Switzerland, who were over-reliant on Xherdan Shaqiri who, in turn, didn’t have one of his better days.

The game was decided in the 66th minute when a tame shot from Emil Forsberg deflected past Yann Sommer off the foot of Manuel Akanji and that was Sweden through to the quarter final.

They now had to wait for a few hours to see who their opponents would be.

England against Colombia was a feisty affair with the Central Americans trying almost every trick in the book. From elbows to head butts, from scuffing up the penalty spot to yelling at the referee from two inches away, they tried the lot. The major surprise was that none of them were sent off!

England were awarded a penalty in the 57th minute when the referee, tired of warning the defenders against wrestling with the England forwards, pointed to the spot and Harry Kane scored.

This was justice for the way the Colombians had behaved for most of the game.

They now, however, decided that to get back into the game, they had to play some football and they can be quite good at it. They still had to wait until the 93rd minute when, following the save of the tournament from Pickford, the resulting corner was headed in by an unmarked Yerry Mina.

Extra time provided no extra goals and it was with some relief that England took the game to penalties. Despite the extra rest between games they still looked the more tired of the two teams at the end of the match.


Jordan Henderson – Having performed keepy-ups and a Ronaldo stance, takes his penalty in the style of Rudolf Nureyev and presents the goalkeeper with an easy save

Colombia scored their first three penalties whilst Jordan Henderson, not a regular penalty taker, tamely shot England’s third to Ospina’s left which the keeper guessed and save with ease.

Having seen Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford score with ease it was a little surprising that the Leicester City penalty taker, Jamie Vardy, was not in the five on duty, particularly as Henderson missing his wasn’t much of a surprise.

It was only later that we discovered Vardy had picked up a groin injury and had an injection which makes him doubtful for the quarter final.

Fortunately for England, Mateus Uribe hit the crossbar with Colombia’s fourth penalty and Jordan Pickford saved the fifth from Carlos Bacca. All that was required was for Eric Dier, a defensive midfielder who doesn’t take penalties for his club, to score. Thankfully he did.

England had won their first game in the knockout stage of any tournament in 12 years and only their seventh since winning the World Cup in 1966. They also won only their second penalty shoot-out ever!

Their last had come against Spain in Euro ‘96.

Now Sweden know who their quarter final opponents will be.

And finally…..

Some transfer news from Manchester United and the club have sold Sam Johnstone to West Bromwich Albion. The 25 year-old spent last season on loan at Aston Villa and was instrumenal in taking the club to the play-offs.


Lee Grant – Bought to keep the bench warm when Sergio Romero isn’t keeping the bench warm!

The club have also signed a goalkeeper in Lee Grant. The 35 year-old arrives from Stoke and has signed a two year contract. He is expected to become the official number three at Old Trafford with Joel Pereira going out on loan to gain experience.

Another of their targets Willian, of Chelsea, is currently being priced out of a move by his own club who value him at £70 million. Come on Roman, he’s 29 not 19!

Manchester City appear to be quite close to the signings of Riyad Nahrez and Jorginho. The two players, from Leicester City and Napoli, will cost the club around £108 million in total.

Chelsea, who are expected to confirm Maurizio Sarri as their new manager just as soon as they have managed to get him out of his contract with Napoli and agreed a compensation package with Antonio Conte who they have yet to fire, may not get off to the best of starts with their new man.

Apparently, before he has even agreed a contract with them, Sarri is at odds with the board over new signings. Where have we heard this before?

According to The Daily Star, (so it must be true), the Italian wants to sign Dries Mertens and the board don’t. So that’s a good start to their no-doubt-very-short relationship then.





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