Rio Ferdinand: Calm Kane can lead Three Lions into the semi-finals

Rio Ferdinand
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Rio Ferdinand was in Moscow to watch England win their first World Cup penalty shootout in four attempts and he's backing Gareth Southgate's professional Three Lions to advance again

"Sweden won't come out to play. They'll play conservatively and be hard to beat. They will sit and hope to nick a goal like they did against Switzerland and that's fine, needs must sometimes. England will need to be wary. Yes, we have the better footballers, but as we have seen in this tournament that doesn't always mean you will win. Look at Russia knocking Spain out of the competition."

England can take so much confidence from last 16 win

Finally we can reflect on England winning a penalty shootout! There's no worse way to lose, but no better way to win, than that.

First up, I'm just delighted for the squad. We've finally got over the hoodoo of penalty shootouts and if we get to that stage again there's that renewed confidence that we can get through.

With all that history of shootout losses there's been a bit of a bad smell around England camps for the last few tournaments. It's been talked about so much in the media, but at last we have dispelled the myth that we can't win a shootout.

I watched the game from the stadium and it was incredible in there, probably 85% Colombia fans. It was like playing at an away game and England didn't just have to deal with that. Colombia also put the referee under a lot of pressure with fouling and constant complaints. England kept their cool and learned that they can be resilient in intense conditions. That's great for the squad, it can only grow their confidence.

It was a bright start from the Three Lions and I want to see more of that. When England are on the front foot they create chances and they can do that against anyone at this tournament. If we have that confidence and go for it we are a handful for anyone.

Pleasing performances all across the park

There are loads of players to call out from the game but two of the youngest deserve a word.

I'll start with Jordan Pickford. He'd got a bit of stick from various corners before the game, but there comes a moment in a tournament when people step up and yesterday that man was Jordan.

I'm also delighted for Marcus Rashford who came on late and played a decisive role in the shootout, scoring the second. He showed huge bravery and mental strength for a young kid. There are players in the camp who take penalties for their clubs and Marcus went before them, took it on and scored the pen.

It's the back three that probably gave me the most joy. I thought Harry Maguire and John Stones were our best players. The confidence with which the back three play out is so pleasing, I love it, it's just refreshing. They are so calm on the ball and when that back three is in possession they trigger others in the team to move and become options, that was so prominent to see from the stadium and I think it's great.

Harry Maguire v Falcao 1280.jpg

Calm Kane keeps England ticking

Kane put in a real captain's performance yesterday, holding up the ball and drawing fouls when in possession to take the pressure off England throughout. He's got immense focus right now, too. When his penalty went in, I looked at Kane and he went around the troops and was calming them all down. He was the only one who looked like he had a clear head at that moment.

Kane's taken four penalties in three games now and banged them all in, under proper pressure. It's ridiculous. I can't see anyone catching him for the Golden Boot - Romelu Lukaku looks his only rival and they've got a very hard game next up.

Upfront with Harry, I think Raheem Sterling probably had his best game of this World Cup. When he turns and faces the opposition they have to take a step back and are on the back foot. Once he came off we lacked that threat.

I don't see many changes for the next game although Dele Alli may be coming under a bit of pressure. He looks to be struggling a little with injuries and didn't impact the game the way we expect him to.

Recovery and recuperation next for England

The next few days will be all about recovery. There might be some tactical walk-throughs but the players will be recovering in their various different ways. I watched quite closely last night and Kane, Kyle Walker, Stones, Jesse Lingard all had a bit of cramp and were gasping for air. Recuperation is key over the next few days.

Don't underestimate Sweden

So next up are Sweden and we have to respect them because this won't be easy. Complacency is the danger, but I don't think it will creep in because Gareth won't allow it. The players are in the groove right now and they'll stay there. These England boys are focused and professional.

Sweden aren't a sexy team, they are very efficient, very well-oiled and very organised. It'll be different to Colombia, who all want to receive the ball and take people on.

Sweden won't come out to play. They'll play conservatively and be hard to beat. They will sit and hope to nick a goal like they did against Switzerland and that's fine, needs must sometimes. England will need to be wary. Yes, we have the better footballers, but as we have seen in this tournament that doesn't always mean you will win. Look at Russia knocking Spain out of the competition.

I'm not deserting England though! I do fancy us to win this one. Gareth has the team so well-prepared and I'll back them to come out on top of a close game - a 2-0 win with Kane (who else?!) on the mark again.

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