SAMARA (Russia): England coach Gareth Southgate said in Samara on Friday that his team is dreaming big ahead of their 2018 World Cup quarterfinal clash against Sweden. England, who routed Panama 6-1 in the group stage, advanced to the final eight by defeating Colombia in a penalty shootout.
"We came into this tournament as the least experienced team. We were also one of the youngest teams in it, but we said we're an improving side who want to make our own history," Southgate, 47, told EFE at a press conference ahead of Saturday's clash.
"Now we have a first knockout win in over 10 years, a first penalty shootout win at the World Cup, and the highest number of goals in a game," the former England international said.
The Three Lions, Southgate said, want to "keep making that history, and we know that it's not since 1990 that we were in a World Cup semifinal."So we're hugely ambitious and want to do that this time, but there's nothing more in our mind than Saturday's game," the coach said.
Sweden captain, Andreas Granqvist said that facing England's captain, forward Harry Kane, in the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia would be hard, but the Swedish national team will try their best to stop Kane.
Speaking at a press conference after his last training session at Samara Arena, on the eve of the clash between the so-called Three Lions and the "Blagult" (blue-gold) squad, Granqvist said that Sweden was going through the World Cup match by match, focusing on each opponent one at a time.
The centre-back, who hours earlier became a father to a baby girl, said he was very happy with the arrival of his second child and that he was intent on leading his country's team in Saturday's clash.
Granqvist praised Blagult's team spirit and said that it had grown over the last two years.