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Four things we learned from England’s World Cup win v Colombia

| 03.07.2018

England result send’s nation wild

England qualified for their first World Cup quarter-final in glorious circumstances triumphing after a penalty shootout.

Eric Dier’s spot-kick sent a nation wild and exorcised the ghosts of so many past penalty heartbreaks. Harry Kane’s 58th minute penalty looked like it had done enough to send the Three Lions into a last-eight clash with Sweden.

But Barcelona centre-half Yerry Mina leapt like a salmon in second-half stoppage time to nod into Jordan Pickford’s net.

The game finished level after a traumatic extra-time and penalties were needed. So often their tournament demise, Pickford and Dier held their nerve to send England into raptures.

The Coral News Team select four things we learned from the Three Lions’ heroic victory…

Solid mentality

Past England squads have been so often accused of lacking the mentality to succeed in major tournaments.

And penalty shootouts have been their demise in tournaments more often than not. But not this time. Despite going second, and 3-2 down, the Three Lions held their nerve.

Only Jordan Henderson missed his spot kick. Pickford made a stunning save from Carlos Bacca to hand Dier his moment.

Kane’s coolness

Harry Kane being made England captain raised eyebrows in certain quarters. But the Tottenham Hotspur striker has looked every inch a leader.

He’s bagged six strikes in this tournament already – three of them from the spot. His ability to find the back of the net from 12 yards is unerring.

The 24-year-old not only smashes the ball but does so with an accuracy that sees it rasp into the top corner. 

Scoring penalties is difficult at the best of times. But Kane does it so easily, it nearly becomes reassuring when England are awarded a spot kick.

Pickford justifies Southgate’s decision

One of Gareth Southgate’s most pressing pre-tournament decisions was who to go with between the sticks.

Pickford, Jack Butland, and Tom Heaton were all in with a shot. But the England boss plumped for Pickford. And the Everton stopper justified his place and then some tonight.

His stoppage time save before eventually conceding was out of this world. And his incredible save from Bacca handed match-point to England in the shootout.

Is football actually coming home?

Southgate’s side now face a quarter-final clash with Sweden on Saturday. And, in truth, it hands the Three Lions a huge chance of making their first semi-final since Italia 90.

Sweden are a very decent outfit. But England will surely fancy their chances of edging past Janne Andersson’s side. They’re 4/5 to win over 90-minutes.

They’re a younger, fitter, fresher team and will be massively buoyed by the nature of their victory over Colombia. Particularly in the manner they achieved it.

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Cian Carroll