England v Colombia Review and Result: World Cup 2018 Round of 16 clash: Otkrytiye Arena, Moscow – July 3, 2018
England 1, Colombia 1
(England win 4-3 on penalties)
England shook off a penalty curse to squeak into the Round of 8, beating Colombia in the shoot-outs 4-3. The Three Lions begun well, making inroads into the Colombian defense in the first half.
Ashley Young had the first crack at the goal from a free-kick awarded just at the edge of the box in the 6th minute with a right-footed curler that goalkeeper David Ospina palmed off. Trippier and Raheem Sterling were making darting runs down the flanks and it was from one of the crosses delivered by the former that Harry Kane came close to scoring in the 16th minute. The angle was difficult for the English striker, for he had to arc his back and strain his neck to get his head to the ball which he eventually did, but the ball dropped on to the roof of the net.
The Colombians were finding it hard to operate without their main play-maker James Rodriguez, out on the bench with a calf injury sustained during his side's last outing with Senegal.
The South Americans had their first moment of the game in the 25th minute when Falcao took control of a ball that bounced off Harry Maguire from Cuadrado's 25-yard shot. The Colombian striker tried to get off a shot from 18 yards but John Stones was able to close him down quickly.
The match took on a feisty complexion when Kane won a free-kick outside the Colombian penalty box in the 39th minute. There ensued some serious jostling among rival players along the defensive wall. Jordan Henderson was seen shoving Wílmar Barrios, the Colombian midfielder responding by gently butting the former on the chest and then on the chin.
Henderson went down and Barrios was let off with a yellow card when he very well could have earned a red. Kane's free-kick went miles wide and the match went into half-time with the score at an “eventful” 0-0.
The second half began with England getting the much-anticipated penalty that was waiting to happen. Carlos Sanchez made a rugby-like tackle on a goal-bound Kane and there was little for the referee to decide despite vociferous protests from the Colombians.
Kane slapped his spot-kick right down the middle with keeper Ospina diving to his right. It was 1-0 to England in the 57th minute. The Three Lions slackened a lot after the lead, allowing the Colombians to get a foot in to the proceedings.
Falcao and Juan Quintero looked menacing but with the English dropping deep, it seemed that the issue would be settled at 1-0 for the Three Lions. But that was not to be. The towering Yerry Mina who got his third goal in as many games, kept the South Americans in the hunt with a powerful downward header from a corner kick. That was the 93rd minute of play.
The corner was the result of a spectacular save by Jordan Pickford off a thundering Mateus Uribe 30-yarder that looked destined to find the corner of the net. It was 1-1 with just two minutes to go for the final whistle.
The Colombians were in charge in the first half of extra-time. A diving Falco just missed capitalizing on a low cross fired across the goal by left winger Johan Mojica and a little later Mina and Sanchez jumped in unison to head a Cuadrado outswinger from a corner but it flew over.The Three Lions were hanging on with the South Americans scenting blood.
Gareth Southgate brought in Jamie Vardy and Danny Rose to replace the tired Raheem Sterling and Ashley Young and the changes did bring a spring to the English step in the second half of extra time. Vardy was in action letting go a crisp shot but straight at Ospina, although the striker could have done better. A minute later, Jesse Lingard's pass was met by Vardy on the run whose goal-bound shot from 15 yards was blocked brilliantly by Barrios. A third attack by the Leicester City forward down an open left flank was thwarted by Davinson Sanchez and the towering Mina minutes before the final whistle. England entered the penalties feeling a lot better.
The Three Lions' entry into the knock-outs was sealed with Eric Dier's winning penalty shot to the left low corner of the net. This was after the Colombians failed to convert their previous two attempts.
England’s goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, set the tone for the Three Lions by pawing away Carlos Bacca’s fifth attempt with a dive to his right. Kane, Kieran Trippier and Marcus Rashford all coverted, making up for Henderson's shot earlier on that was saved by Ospina.
England now head to meet Sweden in a quarter-final clash on July 7th at the Samara Arena. This will be the Three Lions' 7th entry into the Final 8 but they have failed to progress beyond that stage, the only exception being in 1966 when they won the World Cup.