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 By Lee Roden

Albin Ekdal and Emil Krafth 3/10 as Sweden lose to England in quarterfinal

Before England bounced Sweden, a hatful of ESPN FC correspondents weigh in on whether "it's coming home" in the latest episode of Project Russia.

Sweden's unlikely run deep into the knockout stage of the World Cup came to an end in Samara and the competition's biggest overachievers were better 2-0 by England. Headed goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli finally breached a usually water-tight Swedish defence and Jordan Pickford made sure good attempts at the other end from Marcus Berg and Viktor Claesson came to nothing.

Positives

Sweden got to the quarterfinals of the World Cup and went further than Spain, Argentina and even defending champions Germany. Once the dust has settled and Swedes can reflect with calmer heads on that fact, who could really complain? They may have reached their limit today but this side has exceeded expectations and proved that the future without Zlatan Ibrahimovic needn't be dark: it can be even brighter.

Negatives

England were deserved winners but Sweden will be disappointed to be beaten by something they have made look so simple throughout the run to Russia and the tournament itself: aerial balls. Some of the midfielders in particular also picked a bad day to let their heads drop, not providing enough support in possession for Claesson when he needed it.

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- Sweden created clear chances so in one regard Janne Andersson's game plan was on the right track, but the poorly planned defending that left Emil Forsberg to deal with Maguire for England's opener flew in the face of everything we have come to expect from the coach. That said, if his entire tournament was assigned a rating it would still undoubtedly be a 10 -- this was a dream run in Russia, and Andersson was a huge part of it.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating.)

GK Robin Olsen, 7 -- Produced a brilliant one-on-one save from Sterling towards the end of the first half before the belated offside call came, only to be asked to do it again minutes later when the flag this time stayed down. Solid with his kicking too, capping off a great tournament with one more good game.

DF Emil Krafth, 3 -- In for the suspended Lustig, the right-back was error prone, losing possession needlessly and delivering poorly when he got forward. Attempts to play raking passes behind England's defence were never well-tuned enough to find the runs of Toivonen. Failed in a couple of blocks on the wing that could have cost Sweden, then lost Alli for England's second.

DF Andreas Granqvist, 5 -- For the most part he was alert to danger as standard, using his positioning and intelligence to counteract the superior pace of England's forwards. Wobbled towards the end of the first half, however, and with the game stretched, he couldn't play his natural game.

DF Victor Nilsson Lindelof, 6 -- Solid in the air against Kane when put to the test and read most that came his way well, including some great play facing his own goal to get the first touch before Sterling ran through unchallenged. Did lose the City man a couple of times in succession towards the end of the first half but recovered to a decent standard.

DF Ludwig Augustinsson, 4 -- Wary of England's quality in wide positions, the left-back was conservative in his play and a non-influence on the game as a result. The only exception to the rule was a good cross for a Berg header, stopped by one of several good saves from Pickford.

MF Viktor Claesson, 7 -- Sweden's strongest outfield player. Positive in possession as much as he could be and looked the most likely to create something in an otherwise flat team. His great run inside from the wing led to a sharp exchange with Berg then a good shot that was one of the best chances of the match. The most consistent Swede in terms of attacking play in this tournament, even more so than Forsberg.

MF Sebastian Larsson, 4 -- Back in after missing the Switzerland game through suspension. Looked a half yard short, getting rolled by Sterling and letting the forward slip through several times. Not much better in possession either.

Ekdal couldn't get a foothold for Sweden in midfield as England ground out a 2-0 win in their World Cup quarterfinal.
Ekdal couldn't get a foothold for Sweden in midfield as England ground out a 2-0 win in their World Cup quarterfinal.

MF Albin Ekdal, 3 -- Too ponderous in possession, getting caught out several times early on before shying away from the ball thereafter. Beaten in the air twice from the same dead-ball situation in the second half, which summed up his afternoon.

MF Emil Forsberg, 5 -- Showed some invention initially in trying to launch breaks, but quietened as the game progressed. Beaten by Maguire for the header that allowed England to open the scoring, though it's worth questioning why he was placed in that mismatch to begin with.

FW Ola Toivonen, 4 -- Varied his movement to try to evade the spare man in England's back three and find space behind but was rarely obliged and eventually gave up, perhaps tired of not being supplied by his teammates.

FW Marcus Berg, 6 -- Battled to win fouls and break up England's possession play but rarely given decent service. The striker's great early leap followed by a strong header was only denied by a solid Pickford save, and he also produced a sharp exchange with Claesson to create one of Sweden's other strongest chances.

Substitutes

FW John Guidetti, 4 -- On for Toivonen as Sweden chased the game, the Alaves man managed to help create a chance for Berg with a sharp cut-back but did little more.

MF Martin Olsson, 3 -- A surprise change for Forsberg, he ran and worked hard but produced nothing of note.

DF Pontus Jansson, NR -- On for Krafth with five minutes to go.

Lee Roden is a European football writer based in Barcelona. Follow him on Twitter: @LeeRoden89.

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