Southgate’s England Shows Maturity And Smartness In Confident Win | 7/7/2018 | Staff
(Reuters) – No drama, no panic, no traumatic moment where it all went wrong — this really is a new England team and they showed it again in their 2-0 win over Sweden which sent them into the semi-finals.

In place of any such strife, this was a professional, solid and disciplined performance that German or Italian World Cup sides of the past would have been proud of.

Anguish - Tension - Joy - England - Win

After the anguish, tension and ultimately wild joy of England’s last 16 win over Colombia, this was as close to a routine win as is possible in the last eight of the World Cup.

And it was surely the kind of game that manager Gareth Southgate had in mind when he opted not to go all out to top the group in the final group stage defeat by Belgium.

Loss - England - Workmanlike - Opponent - Brazil

That loss meant England got a workmanlike Scandinavian opponent rather than Brazil in the quarter-finals and, while it was not a game that set neutrals’ pulses racing, they again showed the calmness their manager has instilled in them.

The England manager has avoided the mistakes of his predecessors in his selection choices and his decision to go with young Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford over the more experienced but inconsistent Joe Hart has been validated.

England - Keeper - Shootout - Hero - Colombia

While England were solid defensively, they needed their 24-year-old keeper, the shootout hero against Colombia, to come up with three high-quality saves to frustrate the Swedes.

Pickford was not even born the last time England reached the last four and he exudes the confidence and self-belief that transmits itself to his defense.

England - Managers - Inexperience - Level - Harry

Previous England managers might also have been wary of the inexperience at international level of Harry Maguire but once again the Leicester City center-half was outstanding and his magnificent header from a corner opened the scoring.

Eight of England’s 11 goals so far at the tournament...
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