England got past its penalty woes Tuesday by defeating Colombia with the decisive kick by Eric Dier sending the Three Lions on to the quarterfinals. With a relatively favorable route to the World Cup final now in place, how far could England reasonably go in this World Cup?
We discuss that and more in our latest World Cup Daily podcast. Listen to the full episode below, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes to hear each episode throughout the 2018 World Cup.
Here's a snippet of the latest episode:
BRIAN STRAUS: I can't tell you how many writers and British reporters yesterday, [asked Gareth Southgate] "Have you looked at the bracket? Come on, you've looked at the bracket, right? We've never had a better chance to make a final." And then Gareth Southgate would say something about focusing on Colombia and then the next guy would be like, "OK, but seriously, you've looked at the bracket, right?" It's just, come on man, tell us about what you think of the bracket. And they just stuck with it. They've handled everything so well. Tonight's game was really really difficult and Southgate pointed out leading in that this is the youngest team still in the tournament. And they're handling this like veterans who haven't botched things in the past.
GRANT WAHL: You know, it shouldn't be a really new lesson but this whole idea of the World Cup being a young man's game really does seem to be true. And this is not the first time we talked about that. Not the first World Cup we talked about that. But it's certainly a lesson I think that you see from Spain and Germany and elements of Argentina, that sticking with guys too long isn't gonna work.
BS: Except for Cavani, man. Although maybe he'll hit a wall. But yeah, 100%. I agree 100%.
GW: ... And one of England, Sweden, Croatia or Russia is going to be in the World Cup final. ... But I think England's gonna have a grind against Sweden. A Sweden team that I think people are starting to have a bit more perspective on as, "Oh, these guys kept the Netherlands out. These guys kept Italy out. They're pretty good."
BS: Yeah, Southgate had glowing praise for them today. Just said that this is a team, I mean he used the phrase, "This is a team that is always more than the sum of its parts" and of course, the contrast is obvious, right? England has never been the more than the sum of their parts. They are always less than the sum of their parts until—maybe, so far—the group that he has now. And it'll be interesting to see if England can continue to grow into a team like that because Sweden has no stars. Sweden is the ultimate in sort of a one-for-all, all-for-one sort of workmanlike group. This is the sort of team that Southgate is trying to model England after.
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