England snaps penalty jinx to reach World Cup last 8

Agence France-Presse
Luck finally smiles on England after edging Colombia in a shootout

PILE OF JOY. England players celebrate after ending a string of shootout heartaches. Photo by Alexander Nemenov/AFP

MOSCOW, Russia – England edged Colombia, 4-3, on penalties to halt a run of 5 successive shootout defeats at major tournaments and book a quarterfinal clash against Sweden at the World Cup. 

Harry Kane fired England ahead with his tournament-leading 6th goal just before the hour in Moscow, converting a penalty after he was hauled down by Carlos Sanchez at a corner.

Gareth Southgate’s team looked to be heading into the last 8 in regulation time until Yerry Mina equalized with a 93rd-minute header as the giant Colombian defender scored for the third game in a row.

Neither team could find an advantage in extra time and so a bad-tempered match featuring 8 yellow cards went to a nail-biting penalty shootout. 

David Ospina dived superbly to his left to repel Jordan Henderson’s third penalty for England, but Manuel Uribe hit the crossbar before Jordan Pickford saved from Carlos Bacca.

Eric Dier drilled home the decisive spot-kick as England won for just the second time in 8 penalty shootouts and reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 2006. 

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>A huge moment for <a href=”https://twitter.com/England?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@England</a> in their <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/WorldCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#WorldCup</a> journey… <br><br> TV listings  <a href=”https://t.co/xliHcxWvEO”>https://t.co/xliHcxWvEO</a> <br> Highlights  <a href=”https://t.co/LOdKDX2Cwn”>https://t.co/LOdKDX2Cwn</a> <a href=”https://t.co/v0HqpnyStY”>pic.twitter.com/v0HqpnyStY</a></p>&mdash; FIFA World Cup  (@FIFAWorldCup) <a href=”https://twitter.com/FIFAWorldCup/status/1014276556359954439?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>July 3, 2018</a></blockquote>
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“To get knocked down at the end like we did with that goal in added time, you know, it’s difficult to come back from that. But we did,” Dier said. 

“We were ready for that. We knew what we had to do, we stayed calm, we stuck to our plan, we never panicked all the way through extra time. 

“We knew that if it has to go to penalties, it has to go to penalties. We were ready for that.”

A relieved Southgate said: “It was a night when I knew we were going to get over the line. We had the belief and the resilience to get over the line.”

James Rodriguez blow  

Colombia was dealt a huge blow before kick-off as James Rodriguez failed to shake off a calf injury, the Bayern Munich midfielder not even fit enough for a place on the bench. 

The 26-year-old was the Golden Boot winner with 6 goals in Brazil 4 years ago, when Colombia reached the quarterfinals for the first time. 

Kane, Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli were among 9 players recalled for England after Southgate rested the majority of his first-choice side for their final group game against Belgium. 

Kane scored a combined 5 goals in the wins over Tunisia and Panama, and the Tottenham striker went close when his looping header back across goal landed on the roof of the net. 

Sterling then did well to spin past the imposing Davinson Sanchez although his left-footed strike was charged down, while Kieran Trippier curled wide from a free-kick.

Wilmar Barrios was booked for leaning his head into the chest of Henderson as the game grew into an increasingly feisty affair. 

Pickford made his first save from a fizzing long-range effort from Juan Fernado Quintero, while Jesse Lingard sliced over after Colombia half-cleared a cross.

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Get in there!! Proud. Bottle. Character.  <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThreeLions?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ThreeLions</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/WorldCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#WorldCup</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ENG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ENG</a> <a href=”https://t.co/FIRTBXPzCY”>pic.twitter.com/FIRTBXPzCY</a></p>&mdash; Harry Kane (@HKane) <a href=”https://twitter.com/HKane/status/1014263494873636864?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>July 3, 2018</a></blockquote>
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A member of the Colombia coaching staff appeared to deliberately barge Sterling as the Manchester City player headed towards the half-time at the interval, escaping with just a telling-off.  

Kane made the breakthrough on 57 minutes after he was wrestled to the ground at a corner by Carlos Sanchez, the same player who was shown the first red card of the tournament in a 2-1 loss to Japan. 

The England captain faced a lengthy wait as several Colombia players protested to the referee but he kept his nerve to beat north London rival Ospina, lifting his penalty just over the Arsenal goalkeeper’s outstretched leg. 

Alli nearly added a second when his diving header at the far post flashed over the bar, with Lingard appealing for another spot-kick after he was caught by Davinson Sanchez.

Juan Cuadrado blazed over with 10 minutes to play, and it appeared Colombia’s hopes were up when Pickford made a terrific save to turn behind Uribe’s spectacular long-range strike.

But Mina rose powerfully to meet the resulting corner, with Trippier only able to help the ball in via the underside of the crossbar in the third minute of added-on time.

Substitute Danny Rose almost struck an extra-time winner when his angled shot whistled beyond the far post, and Dier headed over unmarked at a corner.

Then, unlike so many times before, luck finally smiled on them in the shootout. – Rappler.com