I’m a little surprised because everybody seems to be happy in England, thinking they are now on the ‘right’ side of the World Cup draw because they’ve avoided the half with Brazil.
But, if they reach the quarter final, their opponent almost for sure will be Sweden. In the last thirty years, how many times have England beaten Sweden? Not often – twice.
During my time with England we met them four times. We lost once, and the others were a draw and, going back before that, Sweden have beaten England in big games.
It would be easier for England to beat Brazil than to beat Sweden in my opinion, Sweden today are a very hard team to break down. Their strikes are defenders when it’s time to defend and they can defend in their own box as well.
Their running, their commitment, their physical work is incredible.
Sweden were in the same group as France and the Netherlands in qualifying. They beat France and finished ahead of the Dutch, and then they beat Italy in the play-off – in those two games, Italy didn’t score.
Sweden should also have beaten, or at least drawn with, Germany in Sochi, too.
I’d pick Rashford ahead of Sterling vs Colombia
One change you would think is Marcus Rashford instead of Raheem Sterling.
Rashford showed yesterday that he can come in and make a difference to the team with his speed and technique, and he is a goalscorer as well.
It’s like gold having him on the bench. To put him in, with the pace he has in counter attacks, and he can score goals.
While the three central defenders he brought in against Belgium could easily slip into Gareth Southgate’s line-up if necessary, it would not change much. The goal England conceded was not good defending – but the concentration and intensity of the game was like a big friendly rather than a competitive match.
England have a very fresh team now after resting so many and that’s good going into the Colombia game. When you get deeper into a tournament, recovery is very, very important, with games coming every third or fourth day.
If I’d been the manager, I would’ve done the same as Southgate or Roberto Martinez did. It’s a game where you do what you think is best for the team, you see what happens, then you look to the future.
Rest the key players when you have the chance because Harry Kane will not sit on the bench for one minute in the rest of the tournament.
I would expect England to beat Colombia. They can do it in ninety minutes, no need for penalties, but the key is to defend well. Don’t give Colombia chances because they have players like Juan Cuadrado that can beat players one-on-one. Don’t give them that chance.
If England defend well, they will win – because, with the players England have up front, they will score.