World Cup 2018: Sweden target Kane, England make it to Semi-final

England can prove they are not dependent on the figure of striker Harry Kane in the 2018 World Cup. When the Tottenham Hotspur striker was helpless, England still have other players who can score and give victory.

In the quarter-finals at the Samara Arena Stadium on Saturday (7/7), England won 2-0, and both goals were not scored by Harry Kane, but thanks to Harry Maguire’s header in the 30th minute and Dele Alli’s in the 59th minute.

In fact, in the previous three games when played, Kane always scored. Even today Kane became the top standings while the list of 2018 World Cup goalscorers with a notch six goals.

In the match against Sweden, Kane’s appearance was barely visible. Kane’s moves like being turned off by Sweden’s back line, Victor Lindelof and Andreas Granqvist.

Based on statistics, Kane only fired one shot when facing Sweden, and that was not right on target. The record is the lowest for Kane during the 2018 World Cup. While against Tunisia in Group G’s first game, Kane made three shots with two of them on target. The achievement made Kane scored two goals in the game. In the next game, Kane made three shots by scoring three goals against Panama. While against Colombia in the last 16, Kane made three shots with one of them scoring a goal. Kane just did not play when England lost 1-0 to Belgium in their last Group G match.

In the quarter-final match Kane no longer serves as the spearhead that serves as a goal scorer, but as a wall or player that opens up space for other players. This is evident from the first goal scored by Maguire. As Ashley Young unleashed a corner kick, as many as four Swedish players: Lindelof, Granqvist, Ludwig Augustinsson, and Albin Ekdal chose focus on Kane. This condition make Maguire has more freely space. Without convoy means Leicester City defender was moving from behind and jumped without control to head the ball into the Swedish goalkeeper.

The creation of the second goal is also not much different. In the 58th minute, there were three English players in the Swedish penalty box, Alli, Kane, and Sterling. All three guarded four Swedish players. But the four Swede players only focus on Kane and Sterling. As soon as Jesse Lingard released the bait into the opponent’s penalty box, Alli could get away from the penalty trap and score with a header in the 59th minute.

Kane who was born in Walthamstow was also not hesitate to go downstairs looking for the ball because of deadlock on the front lines. Nevertheless, Kane’s action actually makes Sterling open position and often given the ball area by other players to start the England team offensive. With such a situation England coach Gareth Southgate need not worry when Kane’s role is “turned off” opposing players. Southgate only needs to ask other players to help attack.

In the 2018 World Cup England play with a 3-5-2 scheme. With the formation Kane seems to have Sterling as a duet on the line. But in fact, only Kane himself is on duty at the front lines, while Sterling has a role playing behind Kane, including looking for the ball. Therefore the movement of other players is needed when Kane stalemate. Usually, Sterling or Alli in charge of open space. Unfortunatey it was not seen in the first half against Sweden. In the first 45 minutes of the game feels tough and tend to be boring. England can hold possession of the ball, but often facing trouble when it is in front of the Sweden penalty box.

Because Sweden coach Janne Andersson piled players in the penalty box. To create chances, the Three Lions should dare to open fire from outside the penalty box. But that is not done by England.

At that time the British players tend to lazy to move, so that when there are players who hold the ball so look confused to drain the ball back. While the angle to open the shot is not too good.

In addition to Maguire and Alli, England also should be grateful to goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. The Everton goalkeeper made three rescue shots that prevented the 1966 World Cup champions from conceding three goals.

If any England player is considered not performing maximally against Sweden, it could be aimed at Sterling. Manchester City winger often play more individuals. Sterling has also seen several times slowing down the rhythm of the game, at the same time the English players are motivated to increase the advantage of having dominated the game. Sterling raport increasingly bad because had a chance to throw away opportunities when it has been facing with goalkeeper Robin Olsen.

England motivation now increases many times. Croatia will be an equal opponent for England in Semifinals. But Southgate no longer need to worry, because his team has shown a different game character than the generation of the England team before.

England in this era can play and find other solutions when the key players were stop by opponent. In addition, England is also good at utilizing dead balls. Of England’s 11 goals scored in this tournament, eight of them came from dead balls.

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