England beats Colombia 4-3 on penalties at World Cup

MOSCOW — If there were any doubts about this being a different English World Cup team — one that wouldn’t crack under the weight of failed versions stretching across heartbroken generations — they were put to rest near midnight Tuesday in a Russian stadium that could barely contain almost three hours of bedlam.

The goalkeeper had done his work, and now Eric Dier stepped to the penalty spot with a chance to not only send the Three Lions to the quarterfinals, but exorcise demons from shootouts past, including one that had haunted his coach for 22 years.

England doesn’t win tiebreakers; it’s a dark part of its famous history. But as Dier’s shot traveled 12 yards and rippled the net, ousting Colombia and setting a date with Sweden on Saturday in Samara, a new script had been written.

“It’s a big night for England,” forward Harry Kane said after a 1-1 draw through 120 bruising minutes was settled by a 4-3 decision in the tiebreaker. “This will give us more belief than ever.”

For all the history and lore surrounding English soccer, the national team has not raised a major trophy since the 1966 World Cup, played at home.

It’s been more than a half-century of catastrophe and underachievement, dejection and disappointment, hand-wringing and commiserating at corner pubs. But here now is a squad that arrived in Russia with low expectations and few glamorous names, a likable bunch of lads led by a pleasant coach, Gareth Southgate.

They secured passage out of the group stage without much trouble and, after conceding the equalizer deep into second-half stoppage time Tuesday and falling behind in the tiebreaker, they prevailed with the fortitude usually displayed by steeled team like Germany.

England had lost six of seven shootouts, including five in a row. The victory came in the 1996 European Championship quarterfinals, followed by a tie-breaking defeat a few days later. Southgate’s miss ended England’s hopes.

“It will never be off my back,” he said. “That’s something that will live with me forever. But today is a special moment for this team and hopefully will give belief to generations of players that follow because they can see what is possible in life. We always have to believe in what’s possible and not be hindered by history or the expectations.”

In the tiebreaker, goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had no chance of stopping Colombia’s first three attempts. But then Mateus Uribe hit the crossbar. And in the fifth round, while diving to his right, Pickford raised his left hand and swatted Carlos Bacca’s bid.

Dier then stepped up, and England — yes, England — had won a shootout.

It ended a nasty affair in front of a pro-Colombian crowd at Spartak Stadium. England went ahead in the 57th minute on Kane’s tournament-leading sixth goal. He drew a penalty kick — Carlos Sanchez rode him to the ground on a corner kick — and converted the shot with a rising effort into the heart of the net.

Kane became the first English player in 79 years to score in six consecutive appearances.

Colombia wasn’t the same without star attacker James Rodriguez, who had not fully recovered from a calf injury suffered in the group finale against Senegal. The Bayern Munich player watched from the front row of the stands, frequently rising to urge on his teammates or gesture and yell about U.S. referee Mark Geiger’s disputed decisions.

The match was not without controversy. In the first half, England demanded a red card on Wilmar Barrios for head-butting Jordan Henderson in the chest and chin.

This was not a head butt like the infamous one that got French superstar Zinedine Zidane sent off in the 2006 World Cup final against Italy. The contact was milder, Henderson embellished (as all players seem to do these days), so Geiger assessed a yellow.

In all, Geiger issued eight warnings. Given the behavior of many players, he could have easily dismissed some.

Colombia Coach Jose Pekerman was not pleased with the officiating and implied Geiger was swayed by English players embellishing.

“Was a player falling because he faked the fall or because he is being pushed? There is a lot of confusion with this kind of play and we see it over and over again at World Cups.”

Colombia’s deeper problem was operating without Rodriguez. There was no one to keep possession, put England under sustained pressure or unlock the resistance with a killer pass.

His team needed him. Juan Cuadrado, a dangerous winger from Italian club Juventus, was kept in check by right back Ashley Young.

Up until the equalizer, Colombia’s best opportunity came in the 82nd minute when Cuadrado missed badly at the end of a swift counterattack. The pressure, though, was intensifying.

In stoppage time, Uribe launched a lightning bolt from extraordinary distance. Pickford answered with an extraordinary save, soaring to his left to prevent one of the great goals in World Cup history.

It led to a consequential corner kick. Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina charged some 70 yards and joined the fray. Cuadrado provided the service. At 6 feet 5, Yerry Mina won the aerial battle.

The ball hopped off the turf in the six-yard box. Stationed on the goal line, Kieran Trippier tried to steer it away. Instead, the ball caromed off the top of his head and into the net.

Behind the goal, in the upper reaches of an enthralled stadium, thousands of yellow-clad Colombians went out of their minds. Closer to the field, Rodriguez hugged two support staff and another injured player, Miguel Borja.

England, though, rebounded from the emotional blow.

“It was a night I knew we were going to get over the line,” Southgate said. “I just felt we had the resilience and belief to get over the line, whatever it was going to take.”

— Steven Goff


In-game updates

Penalty kick summary

Colombia’s first attempt: Goal!
Captain Radamel Falcao buries his shot down the center and into the top of the net.

England’s first attempt: Goal!
Harry Kane answers with a low blast into the left corner.

Colombia’s second attempt: Goal!
England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford guessed correctly, but Juan Cuadrado’s shot into the upper left corner was nearly perfect.

England’s second attempt: Goal!
Marcus Rashford answers for England.

Colombia’s third attempt: Goal!
Luis Muriel went for the change of pace, tapping a shot past Jordan Pickford after he dove to his right.

England’s third attempt: Save!
David Ospina dove to his left to punch away a shot by Jordan Henderson. Colombia has a 3-2 advantage.

Colombia’s fourth attempt: Save!
Well, a ping anyway. Mateus Uribe’s shot rang off the crossbar to keep England alive.

England’s fourth attempt: Goal!
Kieran Trippier evened the PKs at 3-3.

Colombia’s fifth attempt: Save!
Jordan Pickford came up huge for England, batting Carlos Bacca’s attempt with his left hand.

England’s fifth attempt: Goal!
Eric Dier’s low shot toward the left corner deflected off Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina’s fingertips and into the back of the net. England advances on penalty kicks, 4-3.

Extra time is over

And we’re still tied, 1-1. Sweden’s opponent in the quarterfinals will be decided by penalty kicks.

Substitution for Colombia

Cristián Zapata replaced Santiago Arias in the 116th minute for Colombia.

A chance for England

Danny Rose’s left-footed shot in the 113th minute eluded the grasp of Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina but trickled just wide of the post before rolling out of bounds for a goal kick.

Still tied

Colombia and England are level, 1-1, after the first 15-plus minutes of extra time at Spartak Stadkum. A date with Sweden in the quarterfinals is on the line.

Headed wide

In the 104th minute, Colombia’s Radamel Falcao got his head on a Johan Mojica service into the box, but deflected it just wide of the post. Colombia has had the bulk of the chances in extra time.

Final substitution for England

In the 102nd minute and with the match still tied 1-1, Danny Rose replaced Ashley Young for England.


Moments after Colombia’s Mateus Uribe ripped a shot just wide from outside the box, Yerry Mina scored the equalizer for Colombia in the third minute of stoppage time by heading a corner kick across the goal line. It was Mina’s third goal in three matches this tournament. And it forced extra time.

Two more substitutions

In the 88th minute, Luis Muriel replaced Juan Quintero for Colombia and Jamie Vardy replaced Raheem Sterling for England. The Three Lions have the only substitution remaining.

Missed opportunity for Colombia

Juan Cuadrado had a good look at the net at the end of a rush in the 82nd minute, but his right-footed shot sailed high and wide of the goal.

Substitutions for both sides

Mateus Uribe replaced Carlos Sánchez for Colombia in the 79th minute and Eric Dier replaced Dele Alli for England in the 81st minute.

Yellow card to England

Colombia’s not the only team committing fouls at Spartak Stadium. England’s Jesse Lingard received a yellow card in the 69th minute for a not nice challenge.

Two more yellow cards to Colombia

Colombia’s Radamel Falcao and Carlos Bacca were issued yellow cards in the 63rd and 64th minutes, respectively, as referee Matt Geiger tried to maintain control of a chippy game. That’s five yellow cards in the match for Los Cafeteros, who were no doubt frustrated by the foul that resulted in England’s penalty kick.

Substitution for Colombia

Carlos Bacca replaced Jefferson Lerma in the 62nd minute.


Carlos Sanchez shoved Harry Kane in the box on a corner kick in the 54th minute, resulting in a yellow card for the Colombia defender and a penalty kick for England. Kane buried his shot from the spot into the back of the net to give England a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute. England’s Jordan Henderson was issued a yellow card before Kane’s sixth goal of the tournament.

Yellow card to Colombia

Santiago Arias was issued a yellow card in the 52nd for elbowing England’s Harry Kane in the back as they both went up for the ball.

Halftime update: Colombia 0, England 0

The first half featured 12 total shots, including eight by England, and a head butt by Colombia’s Wilmar Barrios, but nary a goal.

After head butt, England fails to capitalize on yet another set piece

In the 38th minute, Colombia’s Jefferson Lerma took down Harry Kane at the edge of the penalty box. As players from both sides jostled for position in front of goalkeeper David Ospina before the ensuing free kick, Colombia’s Wilmar Barrios head-butted Jordan Henderson in the chin, drawing a yellow card. Barrios will miss Colombia’s next match should Los Cafeteros advance. After that drama, Kieran Trippier drilled the free kick wide of the goal, and the game remained scoreless.

All even thus far

Midway through the first half, possession was even between the two sides. Colombia’s Radamel Falcao nearly had a chance in the box, but the ball deflected to teammate Johan Mojica, whose attempt from about 25 yards out sailed well over the crossbar. England’s best chance was a header by Harry Kane off a cross from Kieran Trippier in the 16th minute that bounced off the top of the net.

Los Cafeteros shot-less

Fifteen minutes into the first half, England had the game’s only four shots and five set pieces.

Two early set pieces for England

A handball on Colombia in the fifth minute led to a free kick for England from just outside the box. Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina punched away Ashley Young’s ensuing set piece. Moments later, Ospina grabbed a corner kick and threw it out of harm’s way.

Starting lineups announced

Bad news for Colombia: James Rodriguez, who has been battling a calf injury, isn’t in the starting lineup. The 2014 Golden Boot winner won’t be coming on as a substitute, either, as he’s listed as ‘Absent’ on Los Cafeteros’s team sheet.

Team profiles


  • Previous results: Lost to Japan, 2-1. Defeated Poland, 3-0. Defeated Senegal, 1-0.
  • Best World Cup finish: Quarterfinals, 2014.
  • Notable: Three of Colombia’s five goals during the group stage came on set pieces.
  • FIFA world ranking: 16. ELO world ranking: 10.


  • Previous results: Defeated Tunisia, 2-1. Defeated Panama, 6-1. Lost to Belgium, 1-0.
  • Best World Cup finish: Champion, 1966.
  • Notable: England has three wins and two draws in five previous meetings with Colombia, including a 2-0 win during the group stage of the 1998 World Cup.
  • FIFA world ranking: 12. ELO world ranking: 8.

— Scott Allen


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