England celebrating after winning the penalty shootout against Colombia (Getty Images)

Moscow – England
held their nerve against Colombia to win their first ever penalty
shootout in a Soccer World Cup and reach the quarter-finals in dramatic fashion
on Tuesday.

As it happened: Colombia v England

Eric Dier scored the decisive spot-kick to win the shootout 4-3 and
send Gareth Southgate’s young team through to a meeting with Sweden, who
earlier beat Switzerland.

A bad-tempered match at Moscow’s Spartak Stadium that featured eight
yellow cards – six for Colombian players – ended 1-1 after 30 tense
minutes of extra-time, meaning the game had to be decided by penalties.

The South American side, without injured forward James Rodriguez,
appeared on the edge of reaching their second consecutive World Cup
quarter-final when Jordan Henderson’s effort was saved by Colombian
goalkeeper David Ospina, keeping the score at 3-2.

But Mateus Uribe then rattled the crossbar and after Kieran Trippier
levelled at 3-3, England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saved from Carlos
Bacca, extending his left arm to stop the ball as he dived to his right.

That gave England match point and Eric Dier made no mistake, beating
the despairing dive of Ospina before he was mobbed by his teammates.

It is the first time England have won a shootout at a World Cup –
and comes after six failures in seven attempts at major tournaments
before Russia.

Southgate’s team were minutes away from victory during normal time
but Yerry Mina rose to head home an equaliser from a corner and cancel
out captain Harry Kane’s 57th-minute penalty.

The late, late goal deflated England and the momentum shifted visibly
towards the South Americans, who started extra-time with a spring in
their step.

“To get knocked down at the end like we did with that goal in added
time, you know, it’s difficult to come back from that,” said Dier.

“But we did. We were ready for that. We knew what we had to do, we
stayed calm, we stuck to our plan, we never panicked all the way through
extra time. We knew that if it has to go to penalties, it has to go to
penalties. We were ready for that.”

England, for so long
under-achievers on the international stage, are the only former winners
left in the bottom half of the draw and, with Sweden up next, will fancy
their chances of reaching the semi-finals for just the third time in
their history.

Pickford is the first England goalkeeper to save a penalty in a
shootout at a major tournament since David Seaman at the 1998 World Cup
against Argentina.

“It’s a great night to win a penalty shootout,” he said. “Ideally we
don’t want to be going to a penalty shootout but we are delighted for
the fans and the whole country.

“It gives us belief to go into the Sweden game.”

Kane’s penalty in the first half made him the tournament’s top scorer with six goals, two clear of Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku.

With Spain already ejected, England face Sweden in Samara on Saturday, with Russia and Croatia potential semi-final opponents.

Brazil and France lurk in the top half of the draw but Lionel Messi’s Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal are out.

Even Prince William got caught up in the emotion, tweeting: “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.”

In the early
game on Tuesday, RB Leipzig striker Emil Forsberg’s deflected
66th-minute shot took Sweden through to their first World Cup
quarter-final since 1994, with the Swiss unable to respond in Saint
Petersburg.

Suspensions deprived Switzerland of key defender Fabian Schaer and
captain Stephan Lichtsteiner, but they will be disappointed by their
limp exit.

Sweden coach Janne Andersson said his side were not finished yet.

“We’re not satisfied with this,” he said. “We want to win the next
match as well. If you start to lower the bar or your ambition that’s not
going to be satisfying. 

“Hopefully in the future I will look back on this with pride but for now, I focus on the next match on Saturday.” 

Away from the drama in Russia, the German Football Association (DFB)
confirmed that coach Joachim Loew will remain in his job despite the
World Cup holders’ shock elimination in the group phase.

“I am very grateful for the confidence that the DFB has again shown
in me and I feel a lot of support and encouragement despite the
justified criticism of our elimination,” said Loew, who has been in
charge for 12 years.

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