England reached the last eight of the 2018 FIFA World Cup after beating Colombia 4-3 on penalties in Moscow on Tuesday. Eric Dier scored the decisive spot-kick to send England through after Jordan Pickford had saved from Carlos Bacca.
The Three Lions will face Sweden in the quarter-final, after the latter beat Switzerland 1-0 in St. Petersburg earlier in the day. Emil Forsberg's deflected shot off defender Manuel Akanji in the 66th minute was all Sweden needed to win a dour game and progress.
The standout fixtures of the next round remain Friday's meeting between Uruguay and France in Nizhny Novgorod, ahead of Brazil facing Belgium at the Kazan Arena.
Friday, July 6
- Uruguay vs. France, 5 p.m. local time (3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET)
- Brazil vs. Belgium, 9 p.m. local time (7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET)
Saturday, July 7
- Sweden vs. England, 6 p.m. local time (3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET)
- Russia vs. Croatia, 9 p.m. local time (7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET)
Sweden Edge a Cagey Contest
A cagey game lacking in quality in the final third failed to enthral fans, particularly during a drab first half:
The main issue wasn't necessarily a lack of attacking intent. Instead, both sides were guilty of profligacy whenever chances came their way.
It got so bad in front of goal, some were left wishing a few greats from Sweden's past could grace the game:
Thankfully, the torpor was relieved six minutes after the hour mark, when Forsberg's shot was deflected past Yann Sommer to give Sweden the lead. The shot was straight and slow, but Akanji's attempt to clear left Sommer with no chance.
Switzerland pushed hard for an equaliser, with substitute Breel Embolo proving a lively presence. Unfortunately, midfielders such as Arsenal's Granit Xhaka struggled to play the right passes to release the winger's pace in behind.
It didn't help Sweden were receiving excellent performances at the back from skipper Andreas Granqvist, along with Werder Bremen left-back Ludwig Augustinsson. Their resolve, along with Sweden's habit for packing numbers behind the ball, left a Switzerland side lacking a marquee striker frustrated.
Frustration turned to anger when Michael Lang was sent off for fouling Martin Olsson when the substitute was clean through after another typically swift Sweden break deep into stoppage time.
Sweden won't alter their approach against England. They'll continue to defend deep and look to counter at pace, but manager Janne Andersson's side may struggle to hold off teams with superior talent in attacking areas.
England End Penalty Misery
England have been knocked out of World Cups on penalties in 1990 and 2006. They also lost by the same method at UEFA Euro '96 and 2004.
So it's hard to adequately quantify the pressure coach Gareth Soutgate's players were under when they stepped forward from 12 yards out. They had already endured the disappointment of losing a 1-0 lead late on, when Yerry Mina's header in injury time cancelled out Harry Kane's 57th-minute penalty.
Kane was accurate again in the shootout, as was Marcus Rashford and Kieran Trippier. Unfortunately for England, Jordan Henderson had been denied by a splendid save from Arsenal's David Ospina.
It meant Colombia, who had seen Radamel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado and Luis Muriel convert, had the chance to forge ahead. The opportunity was lost when Mateus Uribe hit post and bar, before Bacca was rebuffed by Pickford's trailing hand.
The save left substitute Dier to win it, and the Tottenham Hotspur man didn't disappoint, rolling the ball just out of Ospina's reach to make more history:
Overcoming a significant psychological barrier should only strengthen the resolve of Southgate's players as they attempt to reach the last four for the first time in 28 years.