England fans at the Otkritie Arena would’ve been rubbing their eyes in disbelief while others adjusted their television sets when Eric Dier’s penalty found the back at the net.
At the fourth time of asking, England finally won a World Cup penalty shootout to book their place in the quarter-finals in Russia with Colombia missing out.
Harry Kane opened the scoring in the 57th minute when he converted a penalty having been felled in the box by Carlos Sanchez during a corner kick.
However, Colombia then scored from their first corner of the game as Yerry Mina rose highest to head home in the 92nd minute to level the score at 1-1 and take the game into extra-time where no goals were forthcoming.
Despite David Ospina saving Jordan Henderson’s effort to give his side the advantage in the shootout, Mateus Uribe hit the crossbar when his number was up before Jordan Pickford saved Carlos Bacca’s strike.
Dier stepped up to take the decisive penalty and though Ospina got a hand to it, his effort found the back of the net to win the shootout 4-3.
VAR was always going to be a topic of discussion at this World Cup and it will continue to be long after the tournament’s conclusion. There’s nothing wrong with the technology, that’s the good news. It furnishes the officials everything they require to arrive at the correct decision. However, it can’t account for the interpretation of events and that’s wherein lies the grey area and with it, the potential for error and inconsistency.
As England were awarded a free-kick in the 38th minute, an altercation ensued between Henderson and Wilmar Barrios in the box as Colombia tried to organise their defensive wall. The Liverpool midfielder was left on the deck and replays showed the Colombian headbutt him during their jostle.
After receiving word from the VAR officials, referee Mark Geiger issued only a yellow card to Barrios, much to England’s bewilderment. While there was never a question of a penalty given the ball was not in play, the rules of the game dictate that his headbutt – which is considered ‘violent conduct’ – warrants a sending off.
Why the referee didn’t go over to the sideline and review the incident for himself remains a mystery. Either way, it was the latest incident of controversy around the VAR officiating.
There was much speculation over James Rodriguez’s fitness ahead of this encounter and in the end, he didn’t make the cut. Perhaps the absence of his crown jewel influenced Colombia coach Jose Pekerman’s decision to tweak his formation.
He set up without an attacking midfielder through the middle as Juan Quintero shifted to the left – where James usually operates – and went with three central midfielders with Barrios and Jefferson Lerma joining Carlos Sanchez in the middle of the park.
However, while that served to keep track of England’s midfield runners, it effectively eradicated Colombia’s attacking potential in possession. It wound up inviting England onto them, who were largely the better side and posed more of a threat.
Colombia were left to rely on counter-attacks for their chances and even when the opportunity to break came along, England had the numbers and, crucially, the pace to snuff them out.
It was only Kyle Walker’s error that finally allowed Juan Cuadrado a clear sight at goal before Colombia scored a dramatic equaliser in stoppage time from their first corner.
YOU CAN COUNT ON KANE
Pickford and Dier will command much of the attention for their starring roles in a memorable penalty shootout but it was Kane who was easily England’s talisman.
The skipper put in an inspiring performance, ensuring he wasn’t left on the fringes of play. Apart from an early Kieran Trippier cross, he received little in terms of service but never looked frustrated with his team-mates.
Instead, he only worked harder to get on the ball, hold on to it and win numerous free-kicks in the process. He even won the penalty and despite the exorbitant delay to take it, converted with the utmost composure, as he did his effort during the shootout.
It was a battling performance from a player who looks tailor-made for the England armband and destined for the Golden Boot.
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Harry Kane put England ahead in the second half from the penalty spot after he had been manhandled by Carlos Sanchez. But Los Cafeteros took the game into extra-time in the final seconds when Yerry Mina headed in his third goal of the tournament just after Jordan Pickford had clawed Mateus Uribe’s long-range effort away for a corner.
Here, we analyse the performance of England striker Kane, who was spot on twice for the Three Lions.
In a World Cup at which he tops the scoring charts, Kane has so far plundered goals for fun and punished obsolete defences. We’re so used to seeing him make the net bulge, that we don’t often get to appreciate the all-round game of a player simply born to score goals.
We saw it all here from Kane who won 11 aerial duels and was fouled nine times by an overly aggressive Colombian defence but held his nerve in a mature display.
Cool head – A fiery match raged on inside the cauldron-like atmosphere of Moscow’s Otkritie Arena, but while all around him were losing their heads, Kane kept his. He had to wait an eternity to take his spot kick but he dispatched it with all the coolness you’d expect from a man who extended his lead in the race for the Golden Boot.
Perseverance – Thus far Kane has killed teams with his goals. But in a much more attritional affair he was perhaps always going to find chances more limited. However, he always went searching and probing for both the ball and opportunities, winning his side a plethora of fouls.
Possession – Hard to label any criticism at a player who was once again instrumental to victory, but his hold-up play and passing was pretty poor. He completed just 61.9 per cent of his 42 passes as he failed to bring his supporting runners from midfield into play. Also posted no successful dribbles as he very much looked to run onto long balls and chase it rather than run at Colombia’s defenders.
In a game where Kane wasn’t able to showcase his full repertoire of skills – Colombia’s stifling and spoiling tactics saw to that – the Spurs striker rolled up his sleeves, got involved as much as he could, and put in a real shift. It was an alternative display from the marauding ones we’re used to seeing from him, but it was equally admirable from the skipper. Ultimately won England the game, first winning and then converting the penalty, and also getting the Three Lions going in the shootout.
All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com
Do not adjust your television sets – England won a penalty shoot-out at the World Cup.
Seemingly coasting to a hard-fought victory, the head of Yerry Mina made things extremely dicey for the Three Lions – and Colombia looked on top for much of extra-time.
However, England held their nerve on spot-kicks at the fourth time of asking on the global stage as Jordan Pickford denied Carlos Bacca and Eric Dier sent them to the quarter-finals.
Check our Colombia ratings below:
David Ospina – Ospina was a calm presence – which will have surprised Arsenal fans. Saved Henderson’s spot-kick. 7
Santiago Arias – Defended manfully but too hot-headed as Colombia failed to keep their cool when down. 6
Davinson Sanchez – A real coming-of-age display. Often looks shaky but not here – commanding blocks and tackles all game. 8
Yerry Mina – Three goals in three games. How can you argue with that? Capable defender but monster at set-pieces. 7
Johan Mojica – Fascinating tussle with Trippier all game – held his ground superbly against one of tournament’s best right-backs. 7
Wilmar Barrios – Chief ankle-nipper in midfield yet his moment of madness for Henderson headbutt nearly derailed his side. 6
Carlos Sanchez – In serious danger of thwarting Colombia on his own again, could have easily been sent off for dissent. 5
Jefferson Lerma –Willing runner but often just chasing shadows in midfield before coming off on the hour-mark. 5
Juan Cuadrado – Several neat touches and passes. Profited from Walker’s midfield error only to blast shot high and wide. 6
Juan Quintero – Colombia’s defensive set-up, forcing him out wide, did not help him one bit as he struggled to get into the game. 5
Radamel Falcao – Only got going when England lost momentum after the equaliser. Wasn’t helped by supporting cast. 5
Carlos Bacca – Thrown on to bolster attack with Colombia down. Went on to endure penalty horror. 5
Mateus Uribe – His audacious shot gave his side one last chance from the corner, and they took it. 7
Luis Muriel – What Colombia would have given for James. Lots of effort, little guile. 6
Cristian Zapata – On at the death as his side settled for spot-kicks. N/A