Steven Gerrard has some words of advice for England ahead of huge Sweden match


It was pretty unthinkable ahead of the tournament but England have somehow found themselves with their best shot at a World Cup final for a very long time.

This is an even better path than in 1990 when the team bowed out in the semi-final; there is no West Germany in their way this time.

First, however, they've got to bypass Sweden, a side who have shown their doggedness so far with solid, efficient displays.

It's a different test to anything they've faced so far - in some ways, this is the opposite of the perhaps overly-passionate Colombia team who tested England's ability to keep their heads in more ways than one.

The biggest challenge is undoubtedly a mental one. Gareth Southgate's side are the favourites here and being in that position in a World Cup quarter-final is a new experience, to say the least.

England have faced World Cup quarter-finals twice since the turn of the century: against Brazil in 2002 and Portugal in 2006, narrowly losing both.

Steven Gerrard featured in the latter as England bowed out on penalties - one of which he missed.

And speaking ahead of the game against Sweden, the Rangers boss had some advice for the team out of the hope they can go one better than he did.

"I am excited and confident they can go and deliver again," said Gerrard. "I thought the mentality and the spirit they showed in the last game was fantastic.

"They have got the country absolutely buzzing and now the pressure is starting to snowball.


"Now they have to stay calm and keep doing exactly what they've been doing because they look exciting and the dark horses in the competition.

"They have got a hell of a chance and I don't think us as a nation will get a better chance of going all the way to the final, so I hope they grasp it.

"I wish them every bit of luck."

Staying calm will almost certainly be key if England are to get past a Sweden side who have kept their cool expertly thus far.

It'll be a stern test but if England pass it, there's little stopping them from making history.

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