Dirty tackles. A headbutt in the penalty area. Harry Kane physically rugby-tackled to the ground.
The England-Colombia World Cup match was at times an ugly game, with Colombia slapped with six yellow cards to England’s two. But in the end, it didn’t matter.
England prevailed in penalties after a 1-1 draw, with a win that is sure to inflame British passions about a national team that has already been hailed as one of the best in decades.
England started strongly, landing a series of penalties in the early minutes of the game, and giving coach Gareth Southgate’s team the chance to execute a series of the setpieces that the new coach has become known for – but couldn’t quite convert them. Colombia built up as the first half drew on, but both teams ultimately went into half-time with the scoreline at nil-nil.
In the second half, Colombia’s fouls ratcheted up – but backfired, when a blatant tackle that forced Harry Kane to the ground yards from Colombia’s goal prompted a penalty kick that he booted squarely into the centre of the net.
Around the 80th minute, Colombia got a break but squandered it, with Bacca booting it high. The South American team got a rare shot on goal in minute 86, but Falcao slid slowly along the ground, with English keeper Pickford stopping it easily.
Then, in the 93rd minute, with a header that electrified the crowd, Colombia’s Mina hit it into the English goal from a penalty, and ushered in extra time. But the thirty extra minutes failed to produce any additional goals, despite several strong attempts – and the teams headed into penalties 1-1.
At full-time, Colombia had committed significantly more fouls – 21 to to England’s 13 – while England marginally stayed on top of possession, 52% to 48%.
In the end, it came right down to the wire, with a tense penalty shoot-out that left Britons’ hearts in their mouths. Colombia, starting, slotted it in, as did Britain, and both sides did the same again. But Colombia’s Espina saved one fron England’s Henderson, putting the side 3-2 up, before Uribe hit the crossbar, giving Trippier the chance to equalise, 3-3. One more save from England, and a final goal from Dier clinched it – England won 4-3 in penalties.
“Fantastic. I think we deserved it, as well,” Southgate said after the game. “We played so well in the 90 minutes. We’ve shown incredible resilience to come back from huge disappointment at the final whistle. It’s a huge credit all players and every member of staff.””
England will next play Sweden in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
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