England finally overcame penalty-shootout curse after nearly 30 years when they beat Colombia 4-3 in a shootout on Tuesday after drawing their World Cup last-16 clash 1-1 following extra time after the South Americans had equalised in the 93rd minute.
Beginning with their 1990 semi-final heartache against West Germany, England had previously lost all three World Cup shootouts and three out of four in the European Championship and they looked on course for another nightmare when midfielder Jordan Henderson saw his spot-kick saved by David Ospina.
But Colombia’s Mateus Uribe hit the bar and England’s Jordan Pickford saved from Carlos Bacca, leaving Eric Dier to score the decisive penalty and earn a quarter-final against Sweden, while denying the Colombians a second straight run to the last-eight.
The victory sent England supporters into euphoria, with many insisting that they could believe the manner of the win. Take a look at some of the best tweets and reactions to England's historic night.
England winning the penalty shootout is even better with the Titanic music... pic.twitter.com/YYlWhaonfG
— Samuel (@Swpah) July 3, 2018
I HAVE SEEN ENGLAND WIN A PENALTY SHOOT OUT IN MY LIFE TIME. I AM CRYING. IT REALLY IS COMING HOME — Spurs In The Blood (@SpursInTheBlood) July 3, 2018
WHAT IS THIS EMOTION THAT I AM FEELING? ENGLAND JUST WON A PENALTY SHOOT OUT. I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD LIVE TO SEE THIS DAY. EVERYTHING IN LIFE FEELS SUDDENLY POSSIBLE. GOD BLESS YOU JORDAN PICKFORD. GOD BLESS YOU ERIC DIER. GOD BLESS YOU FOOTBALL
— roger bennett (@rogbennett) July 3, 2018
England won a penalty shoot out. The sky is not the limit. Apply for that job, take that risk, shoot your shot differently. The odds are in your favour. The atmosphere has shifted. The curse is lifted — John M D Mills (@johnmdmills) July 3, 2018
Oh my god I’ve actually lived to see England win a penalty shoot-out at the World Cup
— Martin I WARNED YOU JULIUS Belam (@MartinBelam) July 3, 2018
Football's coming home
— ryan (@VintageLanzini) July 3, 2018
— Kierran Fletcher (@KIERRANNN) July 3, 2018
After Dier scored his winning penalty, celebrations broke out all over England
— Benmanuel (@Benmanuel89) July 3, 2018
Opened the window and you can hear the whole of London screaming nonsense it is BEAUTIFUL. — TechnicallyRon (@TechnicallyRon) July 3, 2018
— Standard Sport (@standardsport) July 3, 2018
— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) July 3, 2018
Even Prince Williams took to Twitter to praise the England team with a rare personalised tweet
I couldn’t be prouder of @england - a victory in a penalty shootout! You have well and truly earned your place in the final eight of the #worldcup and you should know the whole country is right behind you for Saturday! Come on England! W — Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) July 3, 2018
England’s first knockout victory since 2006 was particularly sweet for coach Gareth Southgate, whose shootout miss decided the Euro 96 semi-final, and vindicated his decision to field a second-string side in the last group game defeat by Belgium to secure an easier route towards the final.
He should also be given credit for insisting his players practice penalties, even bringing in a psychologist to help them, after a succession of his predecessors wrote the whole process off as a lottery beyond their control.
If England get past Sweden they face a potential semi-final against hosts Russia or Croatia for their first appearance in a final since winning the World Cup for the only time in 1966.
Aside from reaching the semi-finals 28 years ago, they have never come close to winning the trophy again — even with a “golden generation” of players in the 2000s captained by David Beckham.
Now bookmakers say England, unfancied at the start of the tournament in Russia, are second favourites to win the 2018 World Cup, behind five-times winners Brazil.
With inputs from Reuters
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Updated Date: Jul 04, 2018 11:38:59 IST