In a World Cup of surprises, England provided the latest by finally winning a penalty shootout. A long run of penalty misery on football’s biggest stage ended with a 4-3 shootout victory over Colombia in Moscow last night, sending England to the quarter-finals for the first time in 12 years.
Eric Dier scored the decisive kick after a scrappy game ended in a 1-1 draw, denying Colombia a second consecutive trip to the last eight.
“It was a nervous one,” Dier said. “I’ve never really been in a situation like that before.”
England will play Sweden in the quarter-finals on Saturday in Samara. It is the furthest England have progressed in any tournament since the David Beckham era, when a so-called golden generation of players exited the 2002 and 2006 World Cups in the last eight.
England are thriving in Russia after defending champions Germany were eliminated early and Argentina, Portugal and Spain went home in the round of 16. Harry Kane gave England the lead with a penalty kick in the 57th minute. But as the game entered the third minute of stoppage time, Yerry Mina headed in an equaliser.
England trailed 3-2 in the penalty shootout after Jordan Henderson’s shot was saved, but Mateus Uribe hit the bar and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford then saved Carlos Bacca’s kick.
“I did a whole bunch of research,” Pickford said.
“Falcao is the only one who didn’t go his way. I don’t care if I’m not the biggest keeper in the world. I have the power and agility.”