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England end penalty shootout hoodoo to reach last eight

England will face Sweden in the last eight.

Image: Michael Regan - FIFA

ENGLAND HAVE REACHED the World Cup quarter-finals having beaten Colombia on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time.

Eric Dier held his nerve to seal England’s first penalty shootout success since Euro ’96 – and a first ever in the World Cup – after Mateus Uribe hit the crossbar and Jordan Pickford saved superbly from Carlos Bacca.

David Ospina saved one of his own from Jordan Henderson, but it was to be England’s day – finally – as they emerged 4-3 victors in the shootout.

Colombia v England: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Source: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA

The first half in summary: England were marginally the better side, especially early doors, and Wilmar Barrios was surely fortunate not to receive his marching orders for sticking the head in Jordan Henderson.

Colombia were without talisman James Rodriguez and not dissimilar to their group-stage win over Senegal, struggled to manoeuvre the ball fluidly as a result. They dealt well with early England pressure, however, and by the half-hour mark both sides were engaged in a complete stalemate.

The second verse was altogether more lively.

On 57 minutes, Harry Kane gave England the lead from the penalty spot having personally been dragged to the ground by Carlos Sanchez during an attacking set-piece.

Unperturbed by the Colombian players who sneakily kicked divets into the penalty spot while team-mates – and especially Radamel Falcao – remonstrated with the referee, Kane slotted his penalty straight down the middle leaving David Ospina slumped to his right.

Colombia v England: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Source: Ryan Pierse/REMOTE

The game then almost perpetually threatened to descend to farce: Colombia picked up five yellow cards over the 90 minutes and spent large portions of the second half snarling at the referee seemingly for no reason, while Jordan Henderson and Jesse Lingard entered the ref’s notebook in the England column.

Gareth Southgate’s men kept their shape for the most part and largely kept the South Americans at bay – Juan Cuadrado’s being the only half-decent chance of note as he flashed a shot wide right of Jordan Pickford’s goal from an acute angle.

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But with less than two of the five stoppage-time minutes remaining, England’s rearguard was finally breached.

Colombia earned a corner after Pickford made a Hail-Mary save from an outrageous long-range effort by Mateus Uribe, but his save-of-the-tournament contender was made in vain.

Up went the big man from the back, Yerry Mina, and the six-foot-five Barcelona defender’s downward header bounced agonisingly over the head of Kieran Trippier on the line before nestling in the corner.

Colombia spent the bones of two minutes celebrating their late leveller but held firm up until 97-odd minutes to drag the tie into extra time.

Los Cafeteros enjoyed the better of the first period of extras, with Falcao and co knocking on the door as shell-shocked England clammed up almost completely.

They carried that newfound swagger into the second 15 but England soon began to reimpose some sort of threat on the break through substitute Jamie Vardy, and gradually became the dominant outfit once more.

Danny Rose came close to booking his side a quarter-final spot when he flashed just wide from the left-hand side of the area, while moments later Eric Dier found himself in acres of space but headed well north of David Ospina’s sticks.

In the end, the Spurs man made up for his poor miss, slotting calmly past Ospina from 12 yards to ensure England ended their hoodoo from the spot to set up a last-eight meeting with Sweden.

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