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World Cup: England through to quarter-finals after breaking penalty curse


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England has fired themselves into the quarter-finals of the World Cup after beating Colombia 4-3 on penalties.

The Three Lions will now head to Samara on Saturday, where they will take on Sweden for a spot in the semi-finals.

As soon as the England team walked out into the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, it was clear they would be fighting the crowds. Whilst being surrounded by a sea of yellow Colombian tops, Gareth Southgate’s England looked like the away team, up against a very hostile atmosphere.

The most interesting moment of the first half came as England set themselves up for a free kick just outside the Colombians box. Willmar Barrios bumped his head off of Jordan Henderson’s chin as they tussled about in the midst of the wall; the American referee, Mike Geiger, only brandished the Colombian a yellow card, despite calls from the English for a sending off.

The hostilities were apparent throughout the game as foul after foul was frequently committed. England raked in 13 fouls on the South Americans, with Colombia committing 23 of their own. Mike Geiger’s failure to assert his authority over the antics has led to him coming under fire in the media, especially by the Colombian’s.

As the first half came to an end, England asserted themselves as the better team. The one-time world champions looked to be playing more attacking football than the South Americans, as well as demonstrating more skill and possession.

Despite the first half coming to an end, the hostile environment spilled onto the pitch, with the Colombian fitness trainer barging the shoulder of England striker, Raheem Sterling who was heading back into the English locker room.

As the second half kicked off, so did more drama. At the 57th minute mark, the England skipper, Harry Kane, was awarded a penalty after Carlos Sanchez tackled Kane to the ground inside the area.

It took over 3 minutes for the penalty kick to be taken, with one of the games more controversial moments occurring during that time. The Colombian Johan Mojica, attempted to scuff the penalty spot as well as many of the other members walking up to Kane in an attempt to put him off.

Despite the controversy’s, Kane once again demonstrated his poise and expertise on the spot. With David Ospina diving to his right, Kane lobbed the ball straight between the two posts, taking the Three Lions 1-0 up. The goal has increased Kane’s claim to the golden boot, increasing his tally to 6, 2 up from his nearest competitors.

England looked to see out the game by taking off Dele Ali, who was returning from a slight injury, for Kieran Dier. Pickford then made the save of the game, getting his fingers to  Mina’s injury time shot on goal from 30 feet out, putting the ball out for a corner.

The corner undermined the unbelievable save, as Mina’s 90th+3-minute goal flew over the head of Maguire on the far post. Mina’s last-minute equaliser sent the teams into a further 30 minutes of extra time as well as the Colombian fans crazy.

The Three Lions heads clearly dropped as extra-time began, which led to a switch in the dynamics of the game as Colombia appeared to become the more dominant threat.

England managed to regain composure as Danny Rose’s cross caught the head of the unmarked Dier, before just going over the crossbar. The incredibly tense game ended in a bitter draw, sending England into dreaded penalties kicks.

Falcao and Kane both fired in their teams opening penalties, with both Juventus’ Cuadrado and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford following on from their lead. Muriel also managed to sneak once past Pickford, but it was Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson whose shot from the spot was the first to be saved, granting Colombia the advantage.

Uribe was up next, but his shot deflected off of the crossbar, gifting England another lifeline. Trippier stepped up next and fired the ball into the back of Colombia’s net, bringing the English back into contention.

Jordan Pickford unbelievably got his hand behind Bacca’s shot, granting the Three Lions their first advantage. If Tottenham’s Eric Dier could score, it would send England into their first world cup quarter-finals since 2006 against Portugal, also winning their first penalty shootout at a World Cup.

Celebrations of Dier’s goal could surely be heard around the country, as the shot from the spot sailed just past Ospina’s fingers into the bottom corner. Gareth Southgate’s side has wiped away any memories of their managers missed penalty back in Euro 96’.

The victory has seemingly reignited hopes of becoming World Cup champions amongst the country, as the Three Lions will come up against fellow European’s, Sweden and if they were to make it past them, they would come up against Croatia or tournament hosts, Russia.

Media Credit - Flickr Commons, cchana. FIFA. 

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