Follow Us:

2018 FIFA World Cup | England break penalty shootout jinx, send Colombia home

The Three Lions overcame a Colombian side that employed the dark arts from minute one to set up quarter-final with Sweden.

SNS | New Delhi |

After decades of heartbreak, England broke their penalty shootout jinx, beating Colombia 5-4 (after penalties) in the final pre-quarterfinal of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Spartak Stadium on Tuesday night.

Jordan Pickford was the hero for the Three Lions after the tie had ended 1-1 post extra-time, saving Carlos Bacca’s attempt before Eric Dier sent Gareth Southgate’s men into the quarters with a swing of his right boot.

After Harry Kane’s second-half penalty had given the Britishers the lead, it looked like they would hang on to a 1-0 lead only for towering centre-back Yerry Mina to equalise for Los Cafeteros deep in injury time.

Familiar questions about mental fragility would have been asked had the Three Lions capitulated from then on, for they had been the better side over the course of the 90 minutes.

That wasn’t saying much for without star playmaker James Rodriguez, Colombia were largely toothless in attack.

Their gameplan, however, was simple and it was to disrupt Harry Kane and Co. whenever possible.

What resulted was a game that was high in intensity and low on quality, with plenty of flashpoints.

The South Americans were lucky to end the first-half with 11 men, for Wilmar Barrios was mighty lucky to get a yellow card for a double headbutt on Jordan Henderson.

There were a few meaty challenges in the second-half as well and as Carlos Sanchez wrestled Kane to the ground in the box, it looked like their skipper had given them a deserved victory only for Mina to pop up with his third goal of the tournament to put their champagne on ice.

MUST READ | Sweden ride Emil Forsberg strike to edge Switzerland

If the regulation 90 minutes had few clear-cut chances, the extra 30 had even fewer as it became apparent both sides were preparing for penalties.

Colombia shot first and while Radamel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado were emphatic in their finishes, Kane and Marcus Rashford were clinical with theirs to keep it level at 2-2.

DON’T MISS | Spain legend Andres Iniesta pens open letter explaining retirement decision

Luis Muriel’s cool-as-you-like penalty sent Pickford the wrong way and it looked like Henderson’s miss would prove costly but then Mattes Uribe’s shot crashed off the woodwork to renew hope.

Kieran Trippier was cool with his attempt, leaving David Ospina no chance and Bacca’s attempt was well-saved by Pickford to leave Dier with the ‘simple’ task of scoring the winning penalty.

ALSO READ | Watch: England, Manchester United legend David Beckham nails crossbar challenge

And the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder did just that, to spark raucous celebrations and now Sweden await in the quarters.