Over the last…however many years England have featured in the World Cup, it’s hard to ignore the predictable and desperate outcomes. And once again, we all thought the same thing was happening when they conceded in the 93rd minute of their Round of 16 game.
But no. Something miraculous happened. They actually won a penalty shootout!
Yep! The hoodoo was officially broken. They beat Columbia 4-3 on penalties to make it into the Quarter Finals.
Having been wiped out early on in the last World Cup tournament (thanks to Suarez of Uruguay and Ballotelli of Italy), it’s almost strange to see England run down the field in jubilation! What’s more, having lost to Belgium in the group stages, their path to the final is arguably a comfortable one. They face Sweden next, who barely squeaked through their own game and could then face either Croatia or Russia – who both won through penalty shootouts.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
To me, there were still some warning signs from England throughout this game. Kane’s deeper role in the formation was almost as bizarre as his role as corner-kick taker back in the Euros. Dele Alli’s lack of match fitness became apparent and the playing out from the back always makes me nervous! (Kyle Walker’s dwelling on the ball almost cost them big time, with a subsequent shot from Columbia just over the bar.)
Having said that, this young English team will now be well up for the challenge. Having been shellshocked by that late equaliser, they’ll go in with the belief they can take on anything. If Kane can get more service (as a striker!), if the creativity can flow a little more (but not too creative Dele), then I think England could see themselves in the Semi-Finals for the first time since 1990.
Then its only a matter of time before “It’s Coming Home!” right?…