England triumphed during a night of footballing war with Colombia, earning a place at the World Cup quarter-finals. But what did we learn?
Well, England finally proved they can conduct a serious penalty shootout. Nerve, resolution and perseverance were the football God’s prescribed tonic for the occasion – and it worked. With 23 fouls against them, the Three Lions’ destiny grappled with fate.
Important elements like: key passing, successful dribbles, possession, not to mention more shots favoured England. Leading goalscorer at the tournament, Harry Kane, slotted another penalty to take England to touching distance of the next round. Then, disaster struck English football once again, momentarily and agonisingly. On the 93rd minute, Yerry Mina equalised.
An intensely fought, almost violent game did not descend into chaos, well unless you regard extra time as anarchy. Thankfully England were able to weather the storm: successfully navigating an improved Colombia from earlier in the game. In the Second-half, they played as if comprising Brazil and Germany, with Argentine metal.
Penalty curse undone
Gareth Southgate’s side won on penalties for the first time at a World Cup, to the delight of the nation. Is 52 years of hurt finally coming to an end?
Impressed with the determination of his teammates after the final whistle – per FIFA app – captain Kane declared: ‘This will give us more belief than ever and give the fans back at home more belief than ever and we’re just looking forward to the next one.’
As for the quarter-final, it won’t be as easy as some expect. Results are not guaranteed, in regard to Russia 2018’s unpredictability. Do not underestimate Sweden: that mistake already cost several of their opponents. France or Brazil most likely await in the final, if England conquer the Swedes. Click below for three talking points.