Social media, and apparently much of England, has been abuzz with supporters claiming football (soccer) is “coming home.

If the above wish will indeed happen, the Three Lions have an immediate task ahead of them and that is to navigate their way past Sweden in the third quarter final contest at the 2018 World Cup.

It’s been 28 years since England made it as far as the semi final of the World Cup but the optimism is quite high that Harry Kane can lead the Three Lions into the last four in Russia.

This year, with some considerable “luck of the draw”, England suddenly have a far-from-impossible route to the final.

 Excluding their dead rubber against Belgium (ranked third in the world) which they lost, the highest ranked team England will have played, even if they reach the final, is Colombia (16th).

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Their youthful team still have to get past Sweden and then a dangerous Croatia or well-backed Russia, but England fans are daring to dream.

It could be a long time before they get another chance to emulate their run to the semi-finals of the 1990 tournament or their 1966 World Cup win.

Going into Saturday’s tie, Jamie Vardy is a doubt for England having sustained a groin strain during the last 16 penalty shootout victory over Colombia on Tuesday, although he would have been unlikely to start anyway.

Dele Alli and Ashley Young are expected to be available despite struggling against Colombia with injury knocks so Gareth Southgate could name an unchanged team.

Sebastian Larsson is set to return to Sweden’s starting line-up after missing the last 16 win over Switzerland due to suspension.

But the Swedes will be without Celtic defender Mikael Lustig, who will serve a ban, with Emil Krafth expected to come in at right-back.

Possible Lineups

England: Pickford, Trippier, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Young, Henderson, Alli, Lingard, Sterling, Kane.

Sweden: Olsen, Krafth, Lindelof, Granqvist, Augustinsson, Claesson, Larsson, Ekdal, Forsberg, Berg, Toivonen.


Sweden 1-2 England

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