FIFA World Cup: Goalkeeper the hero as England marches into semi-finals

A goal each by Harry Maguire and Delle Alli helped England defeat Sweden 2-0 in the third quarter-final of FIFA World Cup 2018. But it was England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford who stole the show

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

Vikrant Jha

England defeated Sweden 2-0 on Saturday in the third quarter-final of FIFA World Cup 2018 after Harry Maguire and Delle Alli scored in the 30th and the 58th minute respectively.

A brilliant Sweden defence could not stop Harry Maguire from heading his first ever international goal off an English corner. A gorgeous cross from Lingar in the 58th minute was headed inside by 22-year-old Delle Alli to give the Three Lions a vital two goal lead.

Sweden tried to reduce the deficit and kept pushing for a goal till the last minutes, but brilliant goalkeeping by Jordan Pickford, who made several crucial saves, denied Sweden a much needed opening.

Berg in particular was denied by Pickford twice in the span of ten minutes in the second half. While in the 62nd minute, Pickford made a flying save to deny Berg’s sublime header, Berg’s shot from inside the penalty area looked like going inside the goal before Pickford got a fingertip to guide the ball inches over the cross bar in the 72nd minute.

After the play resumed in the second half with England leading 1-0, an energised Sweden took field and the Swedish team almost equalised in the 46th minute. But Pickford, just like he did on many other occasions throughout the match, denied the Swedish side with a sublime save. The 22-year-old goalie also became the youngest English goalkeeper to keep a clean-sheet in a World Cup match.

England will face the winner of the last quarter-final clash between hosts Russia and Croatia on Wednesday. In the first semi-final on Tuesday, two of the powerhouses, Belgium and France will lock horn against each-other.

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