England banish penalty curse to pass Colombia test and reach World Cup quarter-final
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The hero of the hour, Goetze, appears to be stunned as much as delighted. What a goal he scored! A goal worthy of winning a World Cup final! The sort of thing, in fact, folk were expecting from Lionel Messi. But it was not to be for Argentina.
Sabella looks crushed, the poor man. Mascherano is in tears, as is Aguero. Messi runs his fingers through his hair in despair. It would have been a different story, perhaps, had Gonzalo Higuain been wearing his shooting boots. But Germany deserved the victory, both on their display tonight, and in the tournament overall. Thomas Muller, left, and Bastian Schweinsteiger have a celebratory hug as their team-mates form a celebratory huddle behind. And that is that! The final whistle goes, let the celebrations begin.
Messi stands over the free kick, rubs a hand over his anxious face, and Schweinsteiger is down with cramp. Messi doesn't fancy dying wondering, though. He picks up the ball and races with purpose down the inside-right channel. Schweinsteiger clatters into him, 30 yards from goal. That'll be a free kick, and a last chance for Argentina to save their World Cup dream! As well he might; he's done nothing tonight. There will be two added minutes for Argentina to redeem themselves.
Lionel Messi looks shellshocked. Muller races down the left, and has a shot from a tight angle. It whistles straight through the area. Ozil is sacrificed for Mertesacker. A ball whipped into the German area from the left. Messi, on the edge of the area, attempts to Luis Suarez a header into the net from distance. It's over, and Neuer had it covered anyway. Rojo chases a long, bouncing hoof down the left.
He nearly latches onto it, but Neuer is quickly off his line to tip the ball over the rampaging full back, then catch it after circumventing a player who already has his head in his hands in despair. Rojo whips a cross into the box from the left.
Palacio tries to get a head on it, but in attempting to guide an effort into the top right, sends the ball up, up and away. A further attempt to get the move going again sees Messi fail to keep a heavy pass in down the right.
Bedlam in the Maracana.
Argentina can't get hold of the ball. And what a goal! Without their playmaker James Rodriguez, Colombia for the most part were aggressive, disputatious and at times fortunate to survive with 11 on the pitch. England had handled it as well as could be expected and Harry Kane had scored his sixth goal of the tournament in just his third game, from the penalty that he had won 10 minutes after half-time.
The England captain would go on to dispatch the first of the shoot-out and he led magnificently on the night, never wasting possession, never rising to the bait. England vs Colombia, player ratings Although it was intense in those closing stages, you had to wonder whether Southgate had made a mistake with his substitutions, bringing off Dele Alli as the pressure increased and replacing him with Dier, which seemed to signal a retreat among the England players.
John Stones and Harry Maguire had been exceptional in their defensive work and in the demands made of them to pass the ball out from the back. They stuck to the new diktat that England play out in all situations, however close the opposition might be and however much an old English instinct tells them to treat the ball like a live stick of dynamite.
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Russia World Cup in pictures: New puff July 3rd In midfield Henderson competed relentlessly against a provocative Colombia side. It got worse around the award of the penalty, as Colombia pushed too far at another defensive set-piece. They survived an error from Kyle Walker letting in Bacca. Then finally it was Mina who got to the ball, a header which bounced in front of Trippier and which the full-back headed upwards into the net, as if he was trying to push it over the bar instead of heading out.
After the shoot-out was over and the stadium all but emptied, the players came out on to the pitch to see their families in the stands and wave to the supporters left in there.
It all felt so normal, like an autumn evening at Wembley — the noisy stands now becalmed. But of course it is anything but: Proud of this team, we left everything on the field for Colombia.