Wow, what a night. How were your nerves and have you come down from the ceiling yet? Last night was absolutely incredible for England as they finally put the World Cup penalty hoodoo to bed with a victory in the penalty shootout against Colombia in the last 16.
The match was an absolute rollercoaster for the entire 120 minutes and those dreaded penalties. The Three Lions started the game well without ever really creating any clear-cut chances. Yet it was clear the game plan that Colombia had instigated as they set about trying to get reactions from England players through niggly little fouls. It all came to a head (pun very much intended) while Kieran Trippier (£1.44) stepped up to take a free-kick shortly before half-time when Wilmar Barrios (£0.77) decided to butt his head into Jordan Henderson’s (£1.09) chest and chin. It was without doubt an overreaction from the Liverpool man but it showed England too can dabble in the dark arts. VAR reviewed the incident and amazingly gave a yellow card but the scene was well and truly set.
If there is one theme that will be remembered as part of the 2018 World Cup it is penalties and VAR. Yet despite this Colombia players were manhandling the Three Lions from set plays at any opportunity and it was early in the second half when they were finally penalised giving Harry Kane (£9.18) the opportunity to score from the spot. The Spurs man after several minutes of delaying tactics cooly slotted it down the middle to increase his lead in the race for the Golden Boot to 6! He is up £0.15 from his low price of £9.03 yesterday.
The pressure then built steadily on the Three Lions defence as the clock edged towards 90 minutes and after a World Class save from Jordan Pickford (£1.03) in the 90th minute from an amazing long distant shot. It looked job done. But then Barcelona’s Yerry Mina (£1.36) nodded home the resulting corner to break English hearts everywhere meaning we were heading to extra time and possibly penalties.
Extra time was a nervous affair and as the thirty minutes ticked down, all thoughts turned to England’s horrendous record in penalty shootouts. Having never won a World Cup shootout. Gulp. Captain Kane hit proceedings off to a great start, but when Jordan Henderson (£1.09) missed the third kick it looked like the same old story. Yet with the very next kick Mateus Uribe (£0.48) smashed his spot kick into the bar and we had the instant opportunity to draw level. Spurs Kieran Trippier (£1.44) calmly slotted it home in the top left to make it sudden death.
Step forward Everton keeper Jordan Pickford (£1.03). His stunning one-handed save from Carlos Bacca (£1.32) meant all Eric Dier (£0.90) needed to do was score and England were through. Some savvy Indexers has been backing the keeper throughout extra time seeing his share price rise from £0.92 to his current mark in anticipation of him being the hero. The Spurs man after what seemed an eternity cooly slotted it hope to send the nation wild and England through to the World Cup quarter-finals!
Next up in the quarter-finals on Saturday is Sweden at 15:00. Come on England.