Sweden captain reveals key to stopping England

Ian Watson

Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist insists stopping Harry Kane is the key to beating England at the World Cup.

The skipper intends to cut off the supply to the striker in Saturday’s quarter-final against the Three Lions in Samara.

Kane is the competition’s top scorer with six goals having netted in every game he has contested in Russia.

Granqvist told a press conference: “We have been very strong on set-pieces but this is one of England’s strengths as well and they have Harry Kane, who is really dangerous in the penalty box.

“We need to be very strong in the box and make sure they don’t get the service they need.

“He is incredibly skilled, not just on penalties, but as a striker – he is good at everything.

“It’s going to be a very tough match against him but we’re going to do everything to stop him.”

Former Wigan defender Granqvist became a father for the second time on Thursday night but stayed with the Sweden camp in Russia.

His wife Sofie gave birth to a daughter and Granqvist is eager to focus on facing England.

He added: “I didn’t sleep very much last night so I’m glad it’s happened now. My wife did a wonderful job and everything went well.

“It’s quite simple, getting a daughter is the most beautiful thing you can get.

“It’s a dream for every player to play a quarter-final in the World Cup. I am looking forward to the match to get the best possible result.”

Sweden have a fully fit squad ahead of the showdown and boss Janne Andersson confirmed they have plans for penalties which mirror England’s meticulous preparations.

“Generally speaking I believe in being thorough so we have prepared how we are going to deal with extra-time and penalties,” he said.

“We did already before the previous match, if we needed them… we have our approach and ideas of who is going to take penalties.”

Andersson grew up watching England play, although he admits the Three Lions’ style is different now.

“I grew up in the 70s and we used to follow English football. It was only one televised match a week in those days,” he said.

“I was always a huge fan of English football, I can remember watching Kenny Hibbitt’s Wolves and the muddy pitches.

“I grew up with this and England was my second nation. It’s a wonderful feeling to face them as head coach of the Swedish team.

“But football has developed a great deal. What they still have is the heart and the spirit of fighting. I have always appreciated that but it’s not the England I grew up watching.”