SWOT analysis: Sweden vs England

Ahead of Sweden's quarterfinal clash against England, here's a look at how the teams stack up against each other.

Harry Kane and Emil Forsberg's involvement in the game is going to be crucial to their teams.   -  AFP

Sweden, from beating a highly-fancied Italy in the World Cup playoff to topping a tough Group F and beating an attractive Switzerland in the last-16, has defied all odds to be in the quarterfinals. It goes into the last-eight clash against England with nothing to lose once again. 

Sportstar does a SWOT analysis of both the teams ahead of their quarterfinal clash.  

Strength

Sweden’s biggest strength has been its defence, justified when it conceded only two goals in four matches so far. Its back four (Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindelof, Andreas Granqvist, and Ludwig Augustinsson) have now been constant for three matches in a row, keeping two clean sheets (impressively, against quality attacking sides like Mexico and Switzerland) along the way. 

England hasn’t been free-flowing but for one match (against Panama, which it won 6-1) at this World Cup, but the penalty shootout victory against Colombia showed its mental strength and would have given the confidence to dig deep into the tournament. 

Weakness

Sweden has struggled to retain possession (its average possession in four outings so far is a little over 40 per cent), which was particularly evident in the second half of its Group F fixture against Germany. 

England has scored only three goals from open play so far in this tournament. Against a Swedish side which is excellent at defending set-pieces, the Three Lions might well not find the joy it has so far from corners; Sweden hasn’t conceded a spot-kick yet either. 

England's high line and three-man defence could afford Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen acres of space to during counter-attacks.   -  Getty

 

Opportunities

Sweden defending deep in its own half could play into England’s hands, particularly with Harry Kane not shy of shooting from distance and his ability to strike the ball cleanly. 

With England employing a high press and its three-man defence potentially playing near the halfway line, Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen, the two strikers, will have acres of space to run into when a counter-attacking opportunity arises. With the two strikers potentially camped in their own half out of possession, they can also beat the offside trap. 

Harry Kane is easily the biggest threat to Sweden.   -  Getty

 

Threats

Harry Kane is easily the biggest threat to Sweden. He combines his ability with personality to deliver under pressure and has led England into the quarterfinals with six goals. 

Emil Forsberg, given his level of involvement when Sweden is in possession, is the key player for his team. And his quality deliveries from corners and free-kicks make him a threat for England.

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