World Cup 2018: ‘Resilient’ England pips Colombia on penalties

England halted a run of five successive shootout defeats at major tournaments to enter the World Cup quarterfinals.

Euphoric: England's players celebrate after their win was sealed via penalties.   -  AP

England edged Colombia 4-3 on penalties to halt a run of five successive shootout defeats at major tournaments and book a quarterfinal clash against Sweden at the World Cup. Harry Kane fired England ahead with his tournament-leading sixth goal just before the hour in Moscow, converting a penalty after he was hauled down by Carlos Sanchez at a corner.

MATCH CENTRE

Gareth Southgate's team looked to be heading into the last eight in regulation time until Yerry Mina equalised with a 93rd-minute header as the giant Colombian defender scored for the third game in a row. Neither team could find an advantage in extra-time and so a bad-tempered match featuring eight yellow cards went to a nail-biting penalty shootout.

David Ospina dived superbly to his left to repel Jordan Henderson's third penalty for England, but Manuel Uribe hit the crossbar before Jordan Pickford saved from Carlos Bacca. Eric Dier drilled home the decisive spot-kick as England won for just the second time in eight penalty shootouts and reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 2006.

IN PICTURES: England beats Colombia

England manager Gareth Southgate said his team got the reward it deserved. “We had a cruel blow on 90 minutes which we had to show incredible resilience to come back from,” said a relieved Southgate, whose own penalty miss cost England in the semifinals against Germany at Euro '96.

‘Belief and resilience’

“It was a night when I knew we were going to get over the line. We had the belief and the resilience to get over the line.”

Southgate has challenged his players to write their own history after England's poor recent results at finals.

England had lost five successive shootouts before luck finally smiled on it at the compact Spartak Stadium. “Tonight was a classic example. They don't have to conform to what's gone before,” Southgate said. “Today is a special moment for this team. Hopefully it will give belief to the generations of players that follow. In life you always have to believe what is possible and not be hindered by history or expectations.”

WATCH: Highlights - England vs Colombia

He reserved special praise for Pickford, who made a magnificent save to keep out a spectacular strike from Uribe before a vital stop in the shootout. Pickford was criticised after conceding Adnan Januzaj's winner in the group-stage loss to Belgium, including by his Belgian counterpart Thibaut Courtois, who said he was too small.

Like a scene from ‘MASH’

“It was a top-class save, I'm surprised he could reach it given his height,” Southgate said with a wry smile. “He's really athletic around the goal, he is excellent and he executed the plan in the penalty shootout. We'd studied all of their penalty takers and great credit to our collective of staff and to him for taking on board that information and preparing in the right way. You don't always get what you deserve in life but tonight I think we did.”

MORE FROM THE WORLD CUP

England will have just three days to recover before facing Sweden in Samara on Saturday for a place in the semifinals.

“We've not got a good record against them. I think we've always underestimated them,” Southgate said.

Southgate admitted the gruelling nature of the match had taken its toll on his players, with Colombia shown six yellow cards. “It's like a scene from MASH in the dressing room. For some I think it's just cramp and some need more assessment. We'll know more over the next 36 hours,” he said.

After his side was shown six yellow cards, Colombia coach Jose Pekerman made clear his unhappiness with the performance by U.S. referee Mark Geiger. “The match was very rough, everybody knew the match would be like this,” Pekerman said. “I think we need to try to defend football and I think we should do a little more to try and prevent certain situations knowing they might arise. It's been uncomfortable to play this match knowing that feeling in the air about the refereeing decisions. Something is happening in football, there's a lot of confusion.”

(Video courtesy: FIFA TV)

  Dugout videos