World Cup 2018: England fans confident ahead of quarter final clash with Sweden

World Cup 2018: England fans \confident\ ahead of quarter final clash with Sweden

Gareth Southgate and England: The roots of his revolution

Swedens record goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic has challenged the ex-England skipper and former team-mate to a wager before Saturdays World Cup quarter-final between the two sides.

“Yo David Beckham,” said the former Manchester United striker, who is now playing for Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS.

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 its not the England I grew up watching.

“If England wins I buy you dinner wherever you want in the world, but if Sweden wins you buy me what ever I want from Ikea. OK?”

Video: World Cup 2018: England V Sweden match preview

England vs Sweden: Andreas Granqvist misses birth of his child as he prepares for World Cup showdown

Having been called out, Beckham responded with a twist: “If Sweden win, I will personally take you to Ikea and buy you whatever you need for the new mansion in LA.

“But when England win, I want you to come to watch an England game at Wembley, wearing an England shirt and enjoy fish and chips at half time.”

“I cant even joke about it in the ceremony as it will be the last thing the brides want to hear,” the 32-year-old from Southampton – who is married to a Swede – told BBC Sport. “I am sure the guests will be watching or listening during the ceremonies – theyll all be distracted.”

World Cup 2018: All you need to know about Sweden

Ibrahimovic, 36, was not included in the Sweden squad for the finals in Russia despite saying in April that he would be picked, adding: “A World Cup without me wouldnt be a World Cup.”

“The forecast is for light winds so we will be up against it,” he said. “I guess it is an extra incentive for us to be as fast as we can. I will be keeping up on my phone but I have a dread feeling that I will be walking into the pub just in time to see the penalty shoot out.”

Sweden are seen as England’s bogey team but the last time Gareth Southgate led out a team against them it not only ended in victory for the U21 side but helped to shape the senior squad of today. Adam Bate looks back to that afternoon in Olomouc and explains why the manager’s strong ties to this team have been so important in Russia.

The last meeting between the two nations was an international friendly in November 2012, which included an England debut for 17-year-old Raheem Sterling. However, the game saw Ibrahimovic produce a stunning individual performance as he scored four times in a 4-2 Sweden win, including a spectacular 30-yard bicycle kick.

England versus Sweden at a major tournament conjures up many images depending on your age. Some will have fond memories of Danny Welbecks winner at Euro 2012. Others still debate whether Joe Coles dipping strike was the best by an England player at a World Cup. A generation will never look at a turnip the same way again. Thanks for that, Tomas Brolin.

But the current England manager Gareth Southgate and his captain Harry Kane have already taken on Sweden together before. They were up against them at the 2015 European U21 Championship in Olomouc, Czech Republic. So perhaps that is the memory that will stir instead. It should do because the seeds of this revolution were planted at that tournament.

Harry Kane will probably be the difference. Hes dangerous from all set pieces and crosses and inside the box hes been brilliant for the whole year, as well as at the World Cup. Hes the biggest threat for Sweden, for sure.

World at web:


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