After a tempestuous first-half, Harry Kane put the Three Lions ahead from another spot-kick and were well on their way to a win, before Yerry Mina popped up with another header, his third in the last as many games, in the third minute of injury-time.
No breakthrough in the extra-time paved way for the shootouts, and Jordan Henderson was the first to fluff his lines after seeing England’s first two kicks clinically dispatched. But Jordan Pickford stepped up to the plate and denied Mateus Uribe and Carlos Bacca, leaving Eric Dier to seal their first shootout victory in four attempts.
Heartbreak for Colombia, but here are three reasons why they lost:
#1 Carlos Sanchez concedes another penalty
Carlos Sanchez’s penalty box shenanigans have now cost Colombia two games, the latest one effectively ending their World Cup campaign. The imprudent La Roca, as he’s fondly referred to, was sent off in the opening game to Japan for handling the ball inside the area and conceding a penalty, which was the catalyst in Colombia’s defeat as they played a good 85 minutes of the match with 10-men.
If you play with fire, you’re bound to get burnt. And his recklessness proved costly again when he brought Harry Kane down during a set-piece. The Fiorentina star wrapped himself around the Tottenham hitman while a corner was being played and pushed him to the ground to give away another cheap penalty. Kane duly converted and England had the breakthrough.
The Cafeteros had made life difficult for them from open play as clear-cut chances were few and far between. With Yerry Mina also equalizing late in the game, Colombia’s eventually exit has this particular moment to look back on.
#2 Colombia’s approach was a mug’s game
Not quite sure what was going on in the collective Colombian mind, but it certainly wasn’t football. Though Jose Pekerman set his team out well to cement the void left by James Rodriguez’s injury, frustrating England with a defensive game, their approach – rough, brutal and belligerent – was self-destructive.
In what was a temperamental first-half, Colombia were lucky to have avoided another red card when Wilmar Barrios appeared to headbutt Henderson before a set-piece was taken. The Liverpool skipper did spice it up with play-acting, but Barrios should’ve been sent off there. Relieved with referee’s decision to brandish only a yellow, it actually motivated the Cafeteros to indulge in more foul play in the coming minutes. So much so that even the Colombian coaching staff got involved, shoving Sterling when he was coming off in the second-half.
Colombia’s intent for the majority of the game was to just run the roughshod over England and break their play by imposing mere physicality. In fact, by the end of extra-time, they committed 23 fouls and had 6 of their players going into the books. The only time they made any effort to actually play and get something from the game (apart from the bookings) was in the dying minutes of the match, and a well-executed set-piece saw Mina heading home deep in injury time.
#3 Colombia failed to take shootout advantage
With England having lost all the previous shootout drama they’ve participated in – 1990, 1998 and 2006 – the odds were stacked against the men in red. This was Colombia’s chance to capitalize on their poor record and inflict a fatal blow. After the first two set of penalties were clearly dispatched, Jordan Henderson even gave the Cafeteros the advantage by fluffing his lines.
But Mateus Uribe clumsily blazed his shot against the bar and Kevin Trippier brought the tiebreaker on level terms. It was a golden chance for Colombia to extend the advantage, but it slipped in the blink of an eye. And Carlos Bacca then signed the death note when his effort was parried away by Pickford, who read it clearly and dived in the right direction.
Colombia had it in their hands, but paid the price for letting it slip through.