Sweden 1 (0) [Forsberg (66’)]
Switzerland 0 (0)
Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg
Did I even watch this game? I simply can’t remember given the events of the England game later. I had to rely on the BBC three minutes highlights, to provide an entry of sorts for this diary. In a nutshell, Sweden with the better chances, and the game won just after the hour mark when an Emil Forsberg shot was deflected in by Swiss defender Manuel Akanji. The other action of note came in the final minutes as Swedish substitute Martin Olsson was fouled by Michael Lang as Olsson bore down on goal. The referee pointed to the spot for a penalty but after consulting VAR, changed the decision to a free-kick with Lang sent-off. The Swedes through with the winners between England and Columbia next in the Quarter-Finals.
England 1 (0) [Kane (57’ penalty)]
Columbia 1 (0) [Mina (90+3’)]
(England win 4-3 on penalties, AET.)
Otkritie Arena, Moscow
Well what a night. The highs and lows, so many emotions.
Where to start? As expected the opening half was a tense affair with so much at stake. In what was a very physical encounter throughout, the major talking point of the first period was the incident which saw Jordan Henderson involved with a Columbian player, with the Liverpool player going down theatrically in the box. England have proved to date to be dangerous from set-plays and this was evident in Columbia’s nervousness from corners and free-kicks during this encounter.
And so it proves, when early in the second-half the Three Lions are awarded a penalty, as Harry Kane was brought down from a corner giving the Spurs forward the chance to calmly stroke home the resulting spot-kick. Cue ‘It’s Coming Home, It’s Coming Home’. The half continues, England can’t find a killer second goal and the clock winds down, with all the nervousness that that brings when you are defending a one-goal lead. Ninety minutes up, into time added-on. Surely time is up…Columbia come forward and Uribe strikes from distance which Jordan Pickford brilliantly tips away for a corner. Definitely the last action of the game…the corner swings in and Mina climbs highest, and his header somehow goes in despite the efforts of Trippier on the goal-line. Total deflation – the range of expletives I utter, enough to fill a swear box for a year.
My gut feeling was extra-time wouldn’t see any goals and it would be yet again see England exit on penalties. That seems to be the outcome when with penalties at 3-2 to Columbia and Jordan Henderson stepping up, he sees his penalty saved…exit now surely an inevitability. Goal-scorer Uribe is up next and if he converts it will be another nail in the Three Lions coffin. However, he smashes it against the crossbar. Trippier steps up and slots home. Level again 3-3. Bacca next up for Columbia. Pickford goes the right way and thrusts up his left arm to strongly push away the strike. What a turnaround. Unbelievably, if Eric Dier can convert, England will have won a penalty shoot-out and face Sweden in the last eight. Cool as you like he slots home even with the ‘keeper guessing the right way. Cue celebrations wherever England fans are watching – the players swamp Jordan Pickford. ‘It’s Coming Home, It’s Coming Home…Football’s Coming Home’. My voice is gone and there are tears in my eyes. A night to remember.
Definitely time to rest, relax and recharge the emotions until Friday!