England finally to face World Cup quarterfinal clash against Sweden


New Delhi: England finally broke their penalty shootout voodoo at major tournaments as Jordan Pickford saved from Carlos Bacca and Eric Dier held his nerve to help Gareth Southgate’s side beat Colombia 4-3 in penalties and set up a World Cup quarterfinal clash against Sweden, at the Otkritie Arena here on Tuesday.

After goals from Harry Kane and Yerry Mina, the proceedings had been levelled at 1-1. Jordan Henderson had his effort saved in the shootout while Matesu Uribe hit the bar for Colombia before Pickford kept Bacca’s shot out. Dier finished off the tie by scoring his.

The game had been off to a cagey start as Colombia sat deep and England, despite their pace, offered little penetration going forward.

With Southgate making nine changes to the side that had lost 1-0 to Belgium in their last group game, which had seen England test their bench, the 1966 world champions controlled more of the ball.

Colombia played compact defensive line and countered England’s superiority on the ball with an often aggressive, physical approach. There was little in terms of entertainment for the neutral as Colombia managed to stave off England’s attack that, with every passing minute, seemed to be missing a genuine playmaker.

With James Rodriguez failing to recover in time for the game, the Bayern Munich star’s absence was felt on the pitch as Colombia struggled to create any chance of significance.

As the game progressed, the feistiness on the pitch grew. In the 39 minute, a free kick for England just outside the box led to a mini-skirmish inside the Colombian box. It was then that Wilmar Barrios head-butted England’s Henderson in the chest. The referee consulted the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) but much to the fury of the England bench, only booked the Colombian midfielder.

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