Talking points: Jinx broken for England, Southgate justified

After England's nerve-wracking penalty shoot-out win over Colombia and Sweden's 1-0 win over Switzerland, we take a look at the talking points of the day's play.

England players celebrate the penalty shootout win over Colombia.

England players celebrate the penalty shootout win over Colombia.

England ticking all the boxes

After its first-ever penalty shoot-out win over Colombia, England is ticking all the right boxes as it makes its way into the quarterfinals. Could it be its year?

Manager Gareth Southgate has an in-form striker in Harry Kane, who is leading the charts with six goals. England looked defensively assured despite conceding the last minute equaliser, with a confident Jordan Pickford in goal. Now, after ending its penalty shootout jinx, Southgate and his men might dare to dream.

Gamble proves costly for Colombia

With James Rodriguez's injury in mind, Jose Peckerman made the decision of bringing in an extra midfielder in the form of Jefferson Lerma. Their game plan of absorbing England's high-line possession play before hitting them on the counter didn't bear fruit. Falcao, for all his goal-scoring history behind him, isn't the most mobile striker as he once was.

Only after going a goal down did Colombia come out of its shell to test England's defence. While it was rewarded with a last-gasp equaliser, Peckerman may be left ruing for not taking a more offensive approach from the onset.

Mexico, check; Switzerland, check; England?

Sweden is among the unfancied teams, along with Russia and to an extent Croatia, enjoying a dream run at the World Cup. It beat a superior side in Mexico in its final Group F fixture to progress to the round of 16, where, against a robust Switzerland, it eked out a 1-0 win to seal a last-eight spot.

Sweden has shown character to dust itself off the heartbreaking defeat to Germany and arrive here. In England, it faces another dynamic opposition, but given the way it has fared in its last two fixtures, shutting out opposition with quality forwards and scoring four past them, the Three Lions will be the ones who will be wary of the Swedes and not the other way round.

Not enough goals from open play a worry?

77.77 per cent of England's goals at the World Cup (9) have come from set-pieces (four from corners and three from penalties) and, if someone is pedantic about this statistic, the considerable lack of goals from open play is a worry.

What it also proves is England's reliance on Harry Kane (who has scored two-thirds of his team's goals even if half of them have been from the spot), with those around him (Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli) barely contributing.

This is the reason why England's quarterfinal clash against Sweden may not be straightforward.

Reason for Southgate to feel justified?

Albeit England progressed to the last-eight only by winning a penalty shootout, its manager will be relieved, and justified at the same time, for not taking the final Group G fixture against Belgium seriously.

Against a tough, physical and a rugged Colombia, England held its own from a defensive point of view, with all three centre-halves impressive for a large portion of the 120 minutes.

If Southgate did get his calculations right and is happy to be facing Sweden and not Brazil (for instance), he is a brave man indeed!

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