Harry Maguire's starring performance earns a 9 as England reach World Cup semi-finals with 2-0 win over Sweden

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England are headed for their first World Cup semi-final since 1990 as goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli gave them a 2-0 win over Sweden.

It was a professional display in what was a potentially tricky quarter-final from England, with several players putting in superb shift.

Here’s how the players rated individually.

ENGLAND

Jordan Pickford 9 – Fresh from his penalty heroics in the round of 16, Pickford delivered his best performance in an England shirt, pulling off multiple stunning saves to keep his side’s lead intact.

Kyle Walker 7 – A solid, composed display from Walker. The Man City man hasn’t always convinced as a centre-back, but this was an encouraging display.

John Stones 7 – Like his club teammate Walker, Stones was a stable performer in the Three Lions’ defence, proving the perfect lynchpin for that back three.

Harry Maguire 9 – The Leicester City man was a tank in defence, holding off all Sweden’s attackers whenever he was challenged. His movement to get in prime position for his goal was superb.

Jordan Henderson 7 – Henderson’s reputation has grown at the World Cup, and this was another unassuming but solid performance at the base of England’s midfield.

Kieran Trippier 7 – For once it wasn’t his crosses that led to England’s goals, although he was a threat throughout, as always.

Jesse Lingard 8 – As usual, Lingard’s pace and movement made him a constant menace, and his cross for England’s second goal was perfectly placed.

Dele Alli 8 – A huge moment in Alli’s still-young career as he got his first World Cup goal. This was a performance of controlled fury from the Tottenham star, who picked his moment to perfection.

Ashley Young 8 – Young’s resurgent international career reached its peak on Saturday as his corner set England on their way to a World Cup semi-final.

Raheem Sterling 6 – How good a player would Sterling be if he could finish? Time and again he showed why he can be so lethal, with his speed and ability to find space, only for his finishing to let him down.

Harry Kane 6 – This was a game where England showed they are more than just a Harry Kane team, as the striker’s influence was minimal. But his willingness to drop deep for his side’s attacks was encouraging.

SUBSTITUTES

Fabian Delph 6 – On for Alli late in the game, Delph made sure England continue to tick over in possession and resisted any comeback from Sweden.

Eric Dier 6 – A late substitution for the impressive Henderson, Dier helped England keep their shape as Sweden looked for an opening.

Marcus Rashford N/A – Brought on in injury time largely as a time-wasting substitution, and had only one touch of the ball.

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Belgium's well-stocked, mature squad making most of 'Golden Generation' tag in World Cup run

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Belgium's well-rounded squad has taken the World Cup by storm.

Belgium went from dark horses to true World Cup contenders after beating Brazil on Friday to reach the semi-final of the tournament for just the second time in their history.

Their ‘golden generation’ of talent, which includes players like Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois, was struggling to shake off the tag of perennial underachievers after exiting at the quarter-final stage at the 2014 World Cup and, even more disappointingly, at Euro 2016 when they lost to Wales.

However, after beating five-time winners Brazil, they now have their best opportunity to win an international tournament, although they face a similarly emerging France team in the semi-final on Tuesday.

Here’s a look at how well-stocked Belgium are in every area of their squad.

GOALKEEPER ONE OF THE BEST

Chelsea goalkeeper Courtois, who stands at a mammoth 6ft 6in, showed what an advantage that frame is when he pulled off a stunning save to deny Neymar an injury-time equaliser on Friday.

“I know Neymar likes to curl it that way. I was ready and made a good save,” said Courtois. “I have been unfairly criticised a lot this year. Today I proved again who I am and why I am here.”

Courtois has a reputation as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, but his standing has taken a slight hit in recent seasons, as he alluded to. This is still a player who’s won two Premier League titles with Chelsea and a La Liga trophy with Atletico Madrid.

His nine-save display against Brazil was the latest in a string of strong showings this summer that has restored his reputation.

Courtois has been in superb form at the World Cup.

Courtois has been in superb form at the World Cup.

VETERAN DEFENCE’S FINAL STAND?

Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen were two of the first Belgian talents to make a name for themselves in the Premier League, but both 32-year-olds had to struggle through injuries just to be in the squad for this summer.

Toby Alderweireld and Tottenham teammate Jan Vertonghen were hailed as the best centre-back pairing in England, but Alderweireld is another who’s had injury problems threaten to derail his career.

The two must also contend with advancing age, with Vertonghen 31 and Alderweireld 29.

Belgium’s defence is thus a double-edged sword, with plenty of experience, but also vulnerable to being exposed by the pace of someone like France’s Kylian Mbappe, who they will face on Tuesday.

Belgium's veteran defence is finally making a mark on the international stage.

Belgium’s veteran defence is finally making a mark on the international stage.

MASTERFUL MIDFIELD

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez had faced criticism for not getting the best out of De Bruyne, who’s coming off a superlative season for Manchester City, earlier in the tournament, but he answered that with a brave tactical switch against Brazil.

Martinez pushed De Bruyne further forward from his regular deep-lying midfield role, deploying him as a false nine with Manchester United‘s Marouane Fellaini taking up De Bruyne’s usual position. It worked perfectly as the Man City man scored Belgium’s second, the goal that proved to be the winner.

Meanwhile, captain Hazard has delivered a brilliant performance in just about every game, and his stellar showing against Brazil came after he played a key role in the comeback against Japan, where he supplied the cross for Fellaini’s equaliser as they came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.

On Friday, as wave after wave of Brazilian attack began to tire Belgium out in the second half, Hazard led the charge for his side, bringing the ball out and going on surging runs upfield to relieve the pressure on his defence. It was a sign of his growing maturity – a trait mirrored by the rest of his side.

Hazard and De Bruyne have been the leading lights for Belgium.

Hazard and De Bruyne have been the leading lights for Belgium.

MORE TO LUKAKU THAN JUST GOALS

Lukaku is two goals behind England’s Harry Kane in the Golden Boot race for the World Cup, but he’s shown in Russia that there’s more to his game than just scoring.

His run off the ball and dummy set up Belgium’s winner against Japan, while his work for De Bruyne’s goal against Brazil was just as impressive, as he ran with the ball from the halfway line, brushed off the attention of Brazil’s midfielders, and then set his teammate up to power home a decisive goal.

Both moments show how Lukaku is quickly becoming a more well-rounded, complete player.

Lukaku has shown there's much more to his game than goals.

Lukaku has shown there’s much more to his game than goals.

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Harry is England's hero again, but this time it's Maguire, not Kane, who has Three Lions roaring

Matt Jones 7/07/2018
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England will play in the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time in 28 years after they swept Sweden aside 2-0 in Samara.

Harry Maguire headed the opener from a corner as the Three Lions roared into an early lead. Dele Alli popped up with a second header from Jesse Lingard’s fine delivery midway through the second half to give Gareth Southgate’s side a comfortable cushion.

Jordan Pickford was called upon to make three important stops during the 90 minutes but England were well worth their win.

Here, we analyse the performance of Harry Maguire, who was a factor at both ends of the field.

STATISTICS

Goals – 1

Assists – 0

Shots – 2

Shots on target – 1

Touches – 68

Clearances – 7

Key passes – 2

Aerials won – 10

Fouls – 3

30-SECOND REPORT

Harry is a name we’re often used to showering praise on during this World Cup when it comes to England, but it’s usually striker Harry Kane, who leads the Golden Boot race. In Samara on Saturday though it was Harry Maguire who was England’s hero as he affected the game in both boxes, his towering header put the Three Lions on their way, while he was imperious defensively.

GOT RIGHT

Rising to the occasion – His aerial dominance was on show at both ends of the pitch, rising above the hopeless leap of Emil Forsberg to nod England ahead. Maguire also went about his day job diligently too as he won a team-leading 10 duels in the air.

All-round impact – As well as causing mismatches in both penalty boxes, Maguire was a constant headache for Sweden. His two key passes were second only to Lingard’s four, while his passing accuracy of 84.6 per cent was third-highest among England’s starting XI.

GOT WRONG

Heavy-handed – You can’t criticise him much, but his yellow card will have irked both him and his manager, although it was his first of the tournament, which is unusual for a combative centre-back. He committed three fouls, which was the most by any England player.

VERDICT

Defenders have stood out for England in Russia, with John Stones bagging a brace in the 6-1 hammering of Panama, while Kieran Trippier’s crossing has earned high praise. Here it was Maguire’s turn to shine as his bullet header put England into a lead they rarely looked like losing. At 6ft 4in, he towers above any teammate and he was head and shoulders the best defender on the pitch.

RATING: 8/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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