Today at the World Cup: Saturday, July 7
Last Updated: 07/07/18 3:51pm
Saturday sees the conclusion of the World Cup quarter-finals as England, Sweden, hosts Russia and Croatia look to secure their place in the last four.
Each morning during the tournament we will bring you an overview of what is coming up...
Who's playing today?
Sweden v England (quarter-finals) - Samara, 3pm
Russia v Croatia (quarter-finals) - Sochi, 7pm
What's the deal?
England take on Sweden in Samara on Saturday afternoon for a place in the World Cup semi-finals before Russia and Croatia look to complete the last-four line-up.
The statistics do not make good reading for England, with just one victory over Sweden in the past eight matches. That came during the group stages of Euro 2012, where England ran out 3-2 winners in Kiev.
Both of England's games against Sweden in the World Cup finals have ended in draws, the last coming in 2006 where it finished 2-2 in Cologne, Joe Cole netting a memorable long-range effort and Steven Gerrard also on target before Henrik Larsson netted a last-minute equaliser.
The last meeting between the two nations came in a friendly in November 2012 when a four-goal haul from Zlatan Ibrahimovic sealed a 4-2 Swedish victory.
Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist believes their best chance of beating England hinges on being able to stop England captain Harry Kane.
"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," he told a press conference.
"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."
After England and Sweden's fate has been decided, attention turns to Sochi where Russia and Croatia do battle for the fourth and final semi-final spot.
The hosts were written off as potential winners before a ball was kicked, but have more than made a fist of it since.
Their last-16 victory over Spain, which came courtesy of a penalty shoot-out, may not have been pretty, but they have proved redoubtable opponents in front of home crowds invigorated by their progression and will hope to use that to their advantage once again with Croatia standing in their way.
Ones to watch
England skipper Kane heads into battle with Sweden having already scored six goals and knowing the Golden Boot could be within his grasp if he adds to his tally when it matters the most.
However, that may be easier said than done with only deposed champions Germany having managed to score against Janne Andersson's men in their four games to date.
RB Leipzig attacking midfielder Emil Forsberg carries a lot of Sweden's creative burden - and England will have to watch out for him cutting in from the left.
Forsberg produced a fine performance in the last-16 match against Switzerland, his deflected shot enough to give the Swedes a hard-earned 1-0 win to reach the quarter-finals.
Striker Marcus Berg, who plays his club football for Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, has yet to score in the tournament, but will be a threat with 13 attempts on goal from his four appearances.
If Sweden get a penalty, bank on veteran defender Granqvist, who has slotted home two at the tournament so far.
Luka Modric is Croatia's heartbeat and there were few inside the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Sunday evening who expected anything other than to see the net bulge after he stepped up to take what would almost certainly have been a decisive extra-time penalty.
Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichel's save took the last-16 clash to a shoot-out in which Modric did beat him, but the Real Madrid man is unlikely to be so profligate again if given another opportunity.
Also look out for...
Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the hosts' opening game win against Saudi Arabia but has not been seen at their other matches en-route to the last eight.
He has been in touch with the squad though, with Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov revealing his messages of support have provided extra motivation for both he and his players.
"Putin has been calling me," Cherchesov said. "He called me before the Spanish game (in the last 16), and of course when the president supports you it makes you comfortable and the players know this. It is just an extra boost in terms of motivation."
So will Putin be there to cheer the hosts on or not? Keep your eyes peeled around the Fisht Stadium for a glimpse of the Russia president.
Stats of the day
- Harry Kane could become only the third player in the history of the England national team to score in seven consecutive appearances - the others are George Camsell (9 in a row between 1929 and 1936) and Steve Bloomer (10 in a row between 1895 and 1899).
- Both of the previous World Cup meetings between Sweden and England have finished level, with a 1-1 draw in 2002 and a 2-2 in 2006 (both in the group stages).
- But Sweden could become the third team England have beaten at both the World Cup and European Championships, after Germany and Switzerland - they beat Sweden 3-2 in Euro 2012.
- The last five host nations to feature in a World Cup quarter-final have all progressed to the semi-final (Italy 1990, France 1998, South Korea 2002, Germany 2006 and Brazil 2014).
- Croatia have faced the host nation at the World Cup twice previously, losing both matches against France in 1998 (1-2 in semi-final) and Brazil in 2014 (1-3 in group stage).