By Izuchukwu Okosi
Eric Dier’s last penalty shootout kick earned England a place in the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup as the Three Lions defeated favourites Colombia 4-3 on penalties.
England are still unbeaten against Colombia having faced them five times previously (W3 D2) before Tuesday night. Their last encounter dates back to May 2005 in New Jersey. England won 3-2 thanks to a Michael Owen hat-trick.
England have played in eight penalties in knockout stages of major tournaments since Italia 90 but won only twice.
Harry Kane headed the ball over the bar from a great cross by Jesse Lingard in the 15th minute as England pressed on for an opener.
The Three Lions restricted the Colombians to their half (Colombia’s) for most of the first stanza with goalkeeper Jordan Pickford rarely tested by the South Americans.
Wilmar Barrios was yellow carded for a headbutt on Jordan Henderson in the 40th minute. His deliberate foul perhaps should have seen him sent off.
Carlos Sanchez wrestled Harry Kane to the ground which gifted England a penalty, the defender handed a yellow card. Henderson was carded too for attempting a headbutt on Yerry Mina.
Kane scored from the spot kick, sending David Ospina the wrong way. It was the sixth goal of the tournament for the Tottenham Hotspur striker.
Harry Maguire went to the ground too easily as he apparently sought a penalty. Radamel Falcao was booked for his protestations while substitute Carlos Bacca followed moments later for his foul on Dele Alli, the fifth of the match for the Colombians.
Raheem Sterling apparently wanted the referee to award a penalty to the English side as he took a tumble inside the opposition box in the 68th minute after a breathtaking counter attack.
Juan Cuadrado was teed up by Falcao as the Colombians got their chance to counter attack but the Juventus winger skewed his shot wide.
Michael Uribe hit a sumptuous cracker from over 40 yards which won them a corner as Pickford’s fingers turned the ball out for the set piece. Mina leapt high to head the ball into the net for an equaliser. The 90th minutes (+2) goal was the defender’s third of the tournament.
That goal took the game to extra time after regulation time.
Colombia had more chances to go ahead in the first half of extra time piling the pressure but the first half of extra time remained a goal apiece.
England created a moment of tension as Danny Rose’s 112th minute shot flashed past the face of the Colombians’ goal post.
The match ended 1-1 after 120 minutes and had to be settled on penalties.
Colombia won the toss over who takes first and up stepped Radamel Falcao. He scored. Kane responded for England.
Colombia’s Juan Cuadrado and Luis Muriel both scored, but the duo of Mateus Uribe and Carlos Bacca missed their shootout kicks.
Jordan Henderson missed his kick from 12 yards but Marcus Rashford, Kevin Trippier and Eric Dier converted theirs and England celebrate an historic win.
By Izuchukwu Okosi