Sweden think they have spotted England’s weakness before World Cup quarter-final

Sweden believe they have identified England’s weakness after claiming they are “not very good at moving the ball quickly.”

Swedish scout Tom Prahl has watched the Three Lions and, ahead of Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final, says their slow build-up from the back means they can be put under pressure.

Prahl told Swedish newspaper Expressen : “In terms of weaknesses, they aren’t very good at moving the ball quick — not like teams from southern Europe.

“They’ve not been under that much pressure. I think their opposition has backed off quite a bit, so they’ve been given the opportunity to move it nice and slow.

“So that is a big question for me — whether they’ll be able to open us up if we press them higher, and what would be the effects on our own game. We’ll find out.

“England isn’t just long balls forward and kick and rush, but much more influenced by the rest of Europe. They keep a lot of players centrally and use a back three, but they also have much more method to their build-up.

“They’ve also kept their more traditional attributes, with toughness and physicality. They’ve scored six out of their nine goals on set plays, so we’re aware of that.”

Meanwhile, Gareth Southgate has told his men to be “honest” — or put England’s World Cup chances in jeopardy.

The Three Lions boss has a worrying list of players with injuries and several still need treatment after the gruelling win over Colombia.

Jamie Vardy is the biggest concern and looks likely to miss out with a groin problem. But there are also worries over Kyle Walker, Ashley Young, Dele Alli and even Harry Kane.

Midfielders Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Fabian Delph are on standby if Alli does not make it, while Danny Rose could also come in for Young and Walker insists he is fit – but there are still concerns as he suffered severe cramp.

Coaching staff are also acutely aware of how much ground Jordan Henderson covered and are monitoring his fatigue levels.

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Southgate said: “Oddly enough, when it gets to these games, they’re not always as honest as they might be about how fit they are. So you’ve got to have a racehorse trainer’s eye at times to try to sort that out.

“It’s not straightforward, we won’t see everything, but we will have a feel from what they are reporting and the way they are running, then we will try to make the best decisions we can.

“The lads would always be prepared to risk injury for these games. But that can’t be at the detriment of the performance level.”

Who will qualify for the semi-finals?


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