England Through To World Cup Quarter-Finals After Penalty Win

After much anticipation, last night saw England face Colombia in their round of 16 match. The whole country had their eyes firmly focused on Moscow with fans hoping that the Three Lions could make it to the quarter finals for the first time for 12 years.

England Celebrate
The England team celebrate as they go through on penalties.

 

The game was extremely fast paced with England having the better of the first half in terms of possession but neither side could really make the breakthrough when it came to clear cut chances. The main talking point at the break was Colombia’s tactics.

Their physicality was clearly used to try and disrupt England’s play and the South Americans could arguably have been reduced to ten men following a Wilmar Barios headbutt on Jordan Henderson. American referee Mark Geiger was criticised for failing to control Colombia’s antics, and it seemed that every time a set piece was awarded, that some kind of grappling in the box followed.

It wasn’t long until Colombia were punished for this and Harry Kane was dragged to the ground at a corner kick. A penalty was duly awarded, but this did not stop Colombia from doing everything in their power to try and make the World Cup’s top scorer miss. Whilst the players were protesting, the Colombian defenders scuffed up the penalty spot, in what was a sign of poor sportsmanship.

Even this could not stop Kane who easily dispatched his spot kick, to bring his tally for the tournament up to six goals, equalling the World Cup record for an England player set by Gary Lineker in 1986.

As the half wore on it looked like England were going to get the victory they so craved, but in the final minute of injury time, Barcelona defender Yerry Mina headed in a heart-breaking equaliser. You could almost hear the collective groans go around the nation as it looked like once again England were about to crash out after coming so close to success.

James Rodriguez
James Rodriguez is seen celebrating Columbia's equaliser.

 

A goalless extra time saw the dreaded penalty shootout arrive. Having never won a World Cup penalty shootout before the omens weren’t good. Both teams converted their first two kicks with ease, before Jordan Henderson saw his effort spectacularly saved by David Ospina.

Many people saw this as the moment that England would inevitably crumble, but this did not happen. Colombia went on to see their next kick hit the crossbar, before Jordan Pickford pulled off a wonderful save giving England the advantage. This meant it was down to Eric Dier’s fifth and final kick to seal the victory. With so much pressure on his shoulders, he converted in style putting England into the quarter-finals and the whole nation into jubilation.

Jordan Pickford
Jordan Pickford makes that crucial save, sending England forward in the competition.

 

Next up for England is Sweden on Saturday, and if they win this the Three Lions will find themselves in the semi-finals for the first time since 1990. With so many big teams having already been eliminated, this World Cup is shaping up to be the most unpredictable of all time.

Maybe football really is coming home.

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