We’re buzzing, Kane says as England make semis
Samara, Russia: England captain Harry Kane said his team were “buzzing” and full of confidence as they reached their first World Cup semi-final since 1990 after seeing off Sweden 2-0 on Saturday.
Goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli and a string of fine second-half saves from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford were enough for England to progress to the last four.
“We’re buzzing. It’s probably not sunk in,” Kane said. “We know there is still a big game ahead but we are feeling good, confident.
“We were composed, we controlled the game. We’ve just got to keep doing what we are doing.
“We’re enjoying it, the fans are enjoying it, I’m sure we’ll see some videos later of the fans enjoying it.”
Maguire’s thumping header gave the Leicester centre-back his first international goal, just two years after watching Euro 2016 in France with his friends in the stands.
“It [the first goal] can’t come better than that. The win sends us through and that’s the main thing,” Maguire said.
“We felt like we could dominate the ball in this game. It was a little bit sloppy at the end of the second half, we felt it was a bit too open.”
Tottenham midfielder Alli nodded in only England’s third goal from open play of this World Cup so far just before the hour mark, having struggled with injury earlier in the tournament.
“It’s a great achievement for the team... Owed it to the fans back home who believed in us,” he told the BBC.
“Always nice to score, especially on occasions like this. I don’t think this was my best performance on the pitch. But it’s an amazing feeling to be going to a semi-final at a World Cup.”
It was just a second England victory over Sweden in nine competitive meetings, and sets up a clash with either hosts Russia or Croatia on July 11 in Moscow for a place in the final.
Coach Gareth Southgate stuck with the same team that overcame Colombia on penalties in the last 16, while Sebastian Larsson returned for Sweden after missing the 1-0 win over Switzerland through suspension.
Viktor Claesson drilled over for Sweden early on with an ambitious attempt from distance, while Harry Kane, the tournament’s leading scorer with six goals, dragged wide after a penetrating run by Raheem Sterling.
Sweden manager Janne Andersson had warned his side England were a match for them at set-pieces, and so it proved when Maguire connected with Ashley Young’s corner after a low-key first half hour.
Maguire outjumped the much smaller Emil Forsberg to nod low into the corner, as England scored for the eighth time in Russia from a dead-ball situation.
The lively Sterling should have doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time when he brilliantly controlled Jordan Henderson’s lofted pass, but he was unable to find a way past Robin Olsen and his follow-up was blocked by Andreas Granqvist.
Pickford had relatively little to do in a quiet first half, but the England goalkeeper produced a vital stop to claw away a Marcus Berg header minutes after the restart.
England promptly cranked up the pressure and pulled further ahead on 59 minutes when a completely unmarked Alli sent a thumping header past Olsen after a first-time cross by Jesse Lingard.
Maguire then lashed over after a scene of panic in the Sweden area as England chased a third goal, although they were twice indebted to Pickford for preserving their two-goal lead.
The Everton shot-stopper thrust out a hand to superbly keep out Claesson’s low strike from 10 yards following a neat lay-off by Berg.
Pickford then showed terrific reflexes to tip over an effort from Berg, who shot on the turn after being picked out in the area by substitute John Guidetti.
Southgate withdrew Henderson for Eric Dier in the closing stages and will have a full squad to choose from in the semi-final, injuries permitting.