England moves into semi-finals after 2-0 win over Sweden

SAMARA, Russia, July 7 (Reuters) - Headers from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli fired an impressive England into the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 28 years after they eased their way to a 2-0 victory over a dogged but disappointing Sweden on Saturday.

Maguire opened the scoring in the 30th minute at the Samara Arena and Alli doubled the lead after the break as Gareth Southgate's young squad continued to defy dampened pre-tournament expectations with another confident display.

For once it was not Harry Kane who claimed the plaudits as the tournament's top scorer was kept quiet, but England found another hero at the other end of the pitch as Jordan Pickford produced three superb saves to shut out the workmanlike Swedes.

RELATED: England beats Sweden 2-0 in World Cup upset

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England beats Sweden 2-0 in World Cup upset
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England beats Sweden 2-0 in World Cup upset
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 7, 2018: England's Ashley Young, Sweden's Viktor Claesson and England's Harry Maguire (L-R) fight for the ball in their 2018 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal match at Samara Arena Stadium. Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS (Photo by Anton Novoderezhkin\TASS via Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: An England fan holds a replica of the world cup trophy at the end of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: An England fan holds a replica of the world cup trophy at the end of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: An England fan holds a replica of the world cup trophy at the end of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
An England fan holds up an 'It's Coming Home' banner during the FIFA World Cup, Quarter Final match at the Samara Stadium. (Photo by Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images)
England manager Gareth Southgate (left) with England's Harry Maguire after the final whistle during the FIFA World Cup, Quarter Final match at the Samara Stadium. (Photo by Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images)
England's supporters celebrate in the fan fest of Moscow after England's victory over Sweden during the quarter-finals of the Russia 2018 World Cup football torunament. (Photo by Maxim ZMEYEV / AFP) (Photo credit should read MAXIM ZMEYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
England's supporters celebrate in the fan fest of Moscow after England's victory over Sweden during the quarter-finals of the Russia 2018 World Cup football torunament. (Photo by Maxim ZMEYEV / AFP) (Photo credit should read MAXIM ZMEYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
England fans celebrate England's second goal as they watch the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Sweden and England on a big screen in Millennium Sqaure in Leeds, northern England on July 7, 2018. (Photo by Lindsey PARNABY / AFP) (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)
England's supporters celebrate in the fan fest of Moscow after England's victory over Sweden during the quarter-finals of the Russia 2018 World Cup football torunament. (Photo by Maxim ZMEYEV / AFP) (Photo credit should read MAXIM ZMEYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 7, 2018: England's Harry Maguire (L) and England's goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal match against Sweden at Samara Arena Stadium. Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS (Photo by Anton Novoderezhkin\TASS via Getty Images)
England manager Gareth Southgate with England's Kieran Trippier (left) after the final whistle during the FIFA World Cup, Quarter Final match at the Samara Stadium. (Photo by Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 7, 2018: Sweden's Victor Lindeloef, Albin Ekdal, referee Bjoern Kuipers, Sweden's John Guidetti and England's Harry Maguire (L-R) in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena Stadium. Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS (Photo by Anton Novoderezhkin\TASS via Getty Images)
England manager Gareth Southgate (right) with England's Dele Alli after the final whistle during the FIFA World Cup, Quarter Final match at the Samara Stadium. (Photo by Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Harry Kane of England watches his phone following his sides victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
England manager Gareth Southgate (right) with England's Dele Alli after the final whistle during the FIFA World Cup, Quarter Final match at the Samara Stadium. (Photo by Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images)
England manager Gareth Southgate (left) with England's Harry Maguire after the final whistle during the FIFA World Cup, Quarter Final match at the Samara Stadium. (Photo by Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Harry Kane of England signs autographs following his sides victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
England's Harry Kane (centre) with England's Harry Maguire after the final whistle during the FIFA World Cup, Quarter Final match at the Samara Stadium. (Photo by Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images)
England fans celebrate victory after the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Sweden and England on a big screen in London on July 7, 2018. - England beat Sweden 2-0. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Gareth Southgate, Manager of England celebrates at the final whistle following victory during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Harry Kane of England celebrates with fans following his sides victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Harry Kane of England celebrates with fans following his sides victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
England's coach Gareth Southgate (C) celebrates with his players after winning the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Sweden and England at the Samara Arena in Samara on July 7, 2018. (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
England's forward Harry Kane (L) vies with Sweden's defender Victor Lindelof during the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Sweden and England at the Samara Arena in Samara on July 7, 2018. (Photo by Yuri CORTEZ / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 7, 2018: Sweden's Viktor Claesson (L) and England's Harry Kane fight for the ball in their 2018 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal match at Samara Arena Stadium. Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS (Photo by Anton Novoderezhkin\TASS via Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Gareth Southgate, Manager of England celebrates at the final whistle following victory during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 7, 2018: Referee Bjoern Kuipers in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena Stadium. Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS (Photo by Anton Novoderezhkin\TASS via Getty Images)
Sweden supporters appear dejected at the end of the FIFA World Cup, Quarter Final match at the Samara Stadium. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 7, 2018: England's manager Gareth Southgate (L) and England's Harry Kane celebrate victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal match against Sweden at Samara Arena Stadium. Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS (Photo by Anton Novoderezhkin\TASS via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Sweden's goalkeeper Robin Olsen (R) concedes the second goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Sweden and England at the Samara Arena in Samara on July 7, 2018. (Photo by YURI CORTEZ / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
England's supporters celebrate in the fan fest of Moscow after England's victory over Sweden during the quarter-finals of the Russia 2018 World Cup football torunament. (Photo by Maxim ZMEYEV / AFP) (Photo credit should read MAXIM ZMEYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: General View of Ashley Young of England in action in the Samara Arena during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Sweden supporters appear dejected at the end of the FIFA World Cup, Quarter Final match at the Samara Stadium. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: General View of Ashley Young of England in action in the Samara Arena during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
England fans celebrate as the final whistle goes as they watch the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Sweden and England on a big screen in Millennium Sqaure in Leeds, northern England on July 7, 2018. (Photo by Lindsey PARNABY / AFP) (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Harry Kane of England in action during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Kieran Trippier of England in action during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Gareth Southgate, Manager of England acknowledges the fans following victory during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
England's supporters celebrate in the fan fest of Moscow after England's victory over Sweden during the quarter-finals of the Russia 2018 World Cup football torunament. (Photo by Maxim ZMEYEV / AFP) (Photo credit should read MAXIM ZMEYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Gareth Southgate, Manager of England acknowledges the fans following victory during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Harry Maguire of England acknowledges the fans following victory during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: England fans celebrate during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Fans in the F1 paddock celebrate England's victory in the FIFA World Cup quarter final against Sweden qualifying ahead of the 2018 British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit, Towcester. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Gareth Southgate head coach / manager of England substitutes Jordan Henderson of England during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Gareth Southgate head coach / manager of England substitutes Jordan Henderson of England during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Harry Maguire of England acknowledges the fans following victory during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 7, 2018: Engalnd's Jordan Henderson (L) and Sweden's John Guidetti fight for the ball in their 2018 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal match at Samara Arena Stadium. Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS (Photo by Anton Novoderezhkin\TASS via Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Referee Bjorn Kuipers separates John Guidetti of Sweden and Harry Maguire of England during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Harry Kane of England acknowledges the fans following victory during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Harry Kane of England acknowledges the fans following victory during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Harry Kane of England acknowledges the fans following victory during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Fans in the F1 paddock celebrate England's victory in the FIFA World Cup quarter final against Sweden qualifying ahead of the 2018 British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit, Towcester. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: England players celebrate with their friends and families after their victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Sweden's players react after losing the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Sweden and England at the Samara Arena in Samara on July 7, 2018. (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Referee Bjorn Kuipers shows a yellow card to Harry Maguire of England during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
An England fan cheers during the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Sweden and England at the Samara Arena in Samara on July 7, 2018. (Photo by Yuri CORTEZ / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: Gareth Southgate, Manager of England acknowledges the fans following victory during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
SAMARA, RUSSIA - JULY 07: England players celebrate with their friends and families after their victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Sweden and England at Samara Arena on July 7, 2018 in Samara, Russia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Soccer Football - World Cup - England fans watch Sweden vs England - London, Britain - July 7, 2018 England fan celebrates on top of an ambulance after the match REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Soccer Football - World Cup - England fans watch Sweden vs England - London, Britain - July 7, 2018 England fan celebrates on top of an ambulance after the match REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Soccer Football - World Cup - England fans watch Sweden vs England - London, Britain - July 7, 2018 England fan celebrates on top of an ambulance after the match REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Soccer Football - World Cup - England fans watch Sweden vs England - London, Britain - July 7, 2018 England fan celebrates on top of an ambulance after the match REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Soccer Football - World Cup - Quarter Final - England fans watch Sweden vs England - FIFA Fan Fest, Moscow, Russia - July 7, 2018 England fans react during the game. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva
Soccer Football - World Cup - Quarter Final - Sweden vs England - Samara Arena, Samara, Russia - July 7, 2018 England's Eric Dier celebrates victory with his family in the stand after the match REUTERS/David Gray
Soccer Football - World Cup - Quarter Final - Sweden vs England - Samara Arena, Samara, Russia - July 7, 2018 England's Harry Maguire scores their first goal REUTERS/Michael Dalder TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Soccer Football - World Cup - England fans watch Sweden vs England - London, Britain - July 7, 2018 England fans celebrate by climbing on traffic lights after the match REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Soccer Football - World Cup - England fans watch Sweden vs England - London, Britain - July 7, 2018 England fan celebrates by climbing a lamppost after the match REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Soccer Football - World Cup - Quarter Final - Sweden vs England - Samara Arena, Samara, Russia - July 7, 2018 Sweden's Robin Olsen looks dejected after the match REUTERS/David Gray
Soccer Football - World Cup - England fans watch Sweden vs England - London, Britain - July 7, 2018 England fan celebrates by climbing a lamppost after the match REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Soccer Football - World Cup - Quarter Final - Sweden vs England - Samara Arena, Samara, Russia - July 7, 2018 England's Harry Kane walks near Sweden's Victor Lindelof after the match REUTERS/Lee Smith
Soccer Football - World Cup - Quarter Final - Sweden vs England - Samara Arena, Samara, Russia - July 7, 2018 Wife of England's Jamie Vardy, Rebekah Vardy, in the stand after the match REUTERS/David Gray
Soccer Football - World Cup - England fans watch Sweden vs England - London, Britain - July 7, 2018 England fans celebrate by climbing on traffic lights after the match REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Soccer Football - World Cup - Quarter Final - Sweden vs England - Samara Arena, Samara, Russia - July 7, 2018 England's Harry Maguire scores their first goal REUTERS/David Gray TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Hosts Russia or Croatia, who meet later on Saturday and are lower ranked than Gareth Southgate's side, are all that stands between England and a first World Cup final since they lifted the trophy in 1966.

Sweden had reached the quarter-finals by making life hard for supposedly superior opponents and it was easy to see why after a dour opening when England looked incapable of stringing passes together against their hardworking opponents.

It was predictable in many ways, therefore, that the deadlock was broken from a set piece.

 

BULLET HEADER

England had labored without reward before Ashley Young lined up a corner on the left and his curled effort was met by Maguire charging forward with conviction and barging Emil Forsberg out of his way to power a header down into the net.

That was England's eighth set-piece goal at this World Cup, but, while they are seemingly lethal from dead balls, apart from Kane they are not blessed with too many other sharp shooters.

Raheem Sterling has faced some criticism over his struggles to score for England and just before halftime his doubters were handed ammunition when he was twice left alone to bear down on Sweden keeper Robin Olsen.

His blushes were saved by the linesman's flag as he fluffed the first chance, but moments later he ran through again, this time trying to round the keeper, only to be denied once more.

England were almost made to pay straight after the interval and would have been pegged back if Pickford had not produced a top-drawer save to keep out a Berg header.

The killer blow, however, arrived in the 59th minute as Jesse Lingard's teasing cross into the box was met by Alli unmarked at the far post to head powerfully past Olsen.

England had not kept a clean sheet in their four previous matches and had Pickford to thank for ensuring they did not concede this time.

The keeper saved superbly from Viktor Claesson before tipping a shot from Berg over the bar and that was enough to ensure Swedish hopes of reaching their first semi-final since 1994 were dashed. (Reporting by Toby Davis; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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