England end their penalty curse, beat Colombia in petulant game

04 July, 2018, 04:02 | Author: Jared Lewis
  • 39;We will not face him alone it will be the England team.'

The Colombia camp are crossing their fingers over the fitness of James Rodriguez, the top-scorer at the World Cup four years ago, who limped off in their last group match against Senegal with what appeared to be a recurrence of a groin injury. The players actively talked down their chances in a bid to project an air of humility.

Southgate made eight changes for the final group game against Belgium to keep his top players fresh for Colombia.

"To get knocked down at the end like we did at the end, it's hard to come back from that", Dier said. Had Colombia played the expansive passing game that proved too much for Poland during the group stages, they would surely have made life more hard for England, who have always found it tough against opponents who can dominate possession.

"We looked at technique, how we needed to be as a team, the goalkeeper's role". Extra time finished 1-1 with neither side able to find the back of the net although England finished the stronger of the sides. After over 90 minutes of domination and a quarter-final looking all but sealed, they had to bag an equalizer.

"The manager has come in with great ideas and a great idea of how he wants us to play".

The captain's example is one his team-mates should follow in the coming matches-composure is key in the latter stages of a major tournament.

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That would prove the last qualifty chance before the game went to penalties, in which England had not won since 1996. The winner of Colombia-England gets the Sweden-Switzerland victor in the quarter-finals, and then a semi-final looms against Croatia or Russian Federation.

James Rodriguez's fitness remains a concern for the Colombians ahead of the much-important encounter.

Lee Stobbs, GQ: "A lively start from both teams will fizzle out and be replaced with a cautionary approach, which will take the teams all the way to extra time, where England's freshness will prevail and help avoid a penalty shoot-out".

Fortunately for England, Colombia didn't have their star man in the centre to take advantage. Eric Dier converted the game-winning kick to advance.

The two teams face off at the Otkyrie Arena for a place in the World Cup quarter final. "Prediction: Colombia 1-2 England AET".

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