Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist could miss the birth of his child so that he can lead his country in their quarter-final clash against England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Granqvist, 33, has been among Sweden’s top performers at the tournament thus far and said any trip home for the family matter will be saved for after the meeting with England in Samara on Saturday, via the Guardian
— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) July 5, 2018
Dan Kilpatrick of the London Evening Standard reported Granqvist’s wife, who is pregnant with their second child, was due to give birth earlier this week.
The centre-back scored two of Sweden’s five goals in the World Cup group stage and was an important figure in their 1-0 victory over Switzerland in the round of 16, their third clean sheet in four matches.
Manager Janne Andersson has taken Sweden to the competition’s quarter-finals for the first time since Sweden finished third in the 1994 tournament held in the United States.
TalkSport’s Tom Rennie referenced England midfielder Fabian Delph’s decision to fly home from Russia in a similar circumstance, and the majority of voters in a poll said they would do the same thing
Who is right? What would you do?
Andreas Granqvist has stayed at the World Cup despite his wife being due to give birth.
Fabian Delph went home for the same reason.
— Tom Rennie (@thomasjrennie) July 3, 2018
However, Delph is a fringe figure among Gareth Southgate’s England squad compared to Sweden captain Granqvist, who is set to return to his first club, Helsinborg, from Krasnodar this summer.
Kilpatrick also provided quotes from the defender in giving his assessment of the Three Lions and his side’s chances in Samara:
“Harry Kane is fantastic. They play more offensively now than they did before, with skilful players like [Raheem] Sterling. But they will find it difficult. We play with a very good, compact defence. We lost a lot of big names—we had to start from the beginning and play with 23 players, not one or two.
“We’ve worked really hard and we’ve shown that we really work for each other, we fight for each other and we do it as a collective. That’s the strength of Sweden at the moment.”
Many thought Sweden might suffer from the international retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic after Euro 2016, but Andersson has formed the nation’s stars into a capable corps, of which Granqvist is a vital piece.
The decision to delay his plans to return home and possibly miss the birth of his second child means he’ll put country allegiances first in the hope he has a greater tale to tell of his 2018 World Cup years down the line.