ENGLAND pulled off a heart-stopping win over Colombia in a penalty shootout.Mateus Uribe hit the crossbar and England keeper Jordan Pickford saved Carlos Bacca’s effort, while the Three Lions scored four of their five penalties to progress to the quarter-finals.
Earlier, Sweden defeated Switzerland 1-0 in St Petersburg.
England Defeats Colombia
The curse has been broken. Before today England had lost six out of seven penalty shootouts in major tournaments — including an unwanted World Cup record of three — but the nation found redemption in stunning fashion with a win over Colombia in the Round of 16.
It looked like the Three Lions had shot themselves in the foot when they gave up a 1-0 lead in the dying seconds of stoppage time. Yerry Mina leapt above the pack from a corner and headed home an equaliser when Kieran Tripper — guarding the back post — used his own head to knock the ball into the roof of the net.
Many thought it was a case of classic England — king of the choke — once again finding a way to lose the unlosable. But much has been made of the new-look side in Russia, full of fresh faces as the national team ushers in a generational change. Undaunted by the scars of history that have become synonymous with English football, Gareth Southgate’s charges stood tall in the face of enormous pressure and iced the match to win in penalties.
Colombia slotted its first three attempts from the spot and England did the same with its first two before goalkeeper David Ospina dived full stretch to his left to stop Jordan Henderson finding the back of the net.
But Mateus Maribe hit the crossbar and England shot-stopper Jordan Pickford got in the way of Carlos Bacca’s effort, paving the way for Eric Dier to seal the win. He made no mistake, sparking wild scenes among players, support staff and fans.
Sweden Defeat Switzerland
JUST as stunning as Sweden’s charge through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1994 was the fact they did it without their greatest ever player.
They did it against all odds. They did it wiithout the greatest player to ever play the game — just ask former Barcelona superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Los Angeles Galaxy star was mercilessly mocked by football commentators after Sweden’s passage and the country’s incredible progress since he announced his retirement after Sweden were nocked out of Euro 2016.
Ibrahimovic declares weekly that he is god’s gift to football, but the evidence of his country actually doing better after his retirement will come as a hammer blow to one of football’s most entertaininig egos.