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England beats Colombia on penalties to reach last eight

Swedes not satisfied yet, says Andersson after Swiss win

By Thomson Reuters Foundation - Jul 04,2018 - Last updated at Jul 04,2018

England's goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saves a penalty shootout kick by Colombia's forward Carlos Bacca during their 2018 World Cup round of 16 football in Moscow on Tuesday (AFP photo by Mladen Antonov)

England finally ended its penalties curse when it beat Colombia 4-3 in a shootout after drawing its World Cup last-16 clash 1-1 following extra time after the South Americans equalised in the 93rd minute.

England had previously lost all three World Cup shootouts and three of four in the European Championship, but prevailed on Tuesday when Mateus Uribe and Carlos Bacca failed to convert, leaving Eric Dier to win the game for England

It was the first time Colombia had been involved in a World Cup shootout and it took first blood when Jordan Henderson missed his spot kick — but for once fortune smiled on England.

Earlier Harry Kane smashed in a 57th-minute penalty, his sixth goal of the tournament, and England looked to be through until Yerry Mina headed an equaliser in the third minute of stoppage time.

It was England's first win in a knockout game since 2006 and earns them a quarter-final with Sweden, which was far from impressive in beating Switzerland 1-0 earlier on Tuesday.

Then comes a potential semifinal against the host Russia or Croatia with Tuesday's win appearing to vindicate — just — coach Gareth Southgate's decision to field a second-string side in the the final group game loss to Belgium to secure an easier route.

Colombia's hopes suffered a huge setback before kickoff when key playmaker James Rodriguez was ruled out with a calf injury and without him they took a defensive approach and never rarely threatened.

England was always the more purposeful side but they lacked the key final ball and needed a gift to take the lead.

The South Americans had been getting away with blatant holding and wrestling at each of England's many corners and the referee's patience finally snapped when Carlos Sanchez hauled down tournament leading scorer Kane once too often.

After four minutes of mayhem as the Colombians protested, Kane kept his cool and smashed in his third spot kick of Russia 2018.

When Juan Cuadrado blazed horribly over the bar with the goal gaping ten minutes from time with Colombia's first chance of the match it looked all over for them but there was a fiery sting in the tail of normal time.

England keeper Jordan Pickford made a superb save to touch wide a furious long shot by Uribe but from the following corner — Colombia's first of the match — giant defender Mina rose highest to head in the equaliser and send the massed Colombian fans into a frenzy.

England substitute Dier missed the best chance of the extra period when he headed over the bar but he made up for it in emphatic fashion with the winning penalty in the shootout.

 

Switzerland out

 

Sweden is delighted to make it to the quarter-finals but it is not satisfied yet, coach Janne Andersson told reporters after his side edged Switzerland 1-0 to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 1994.

In another gritty team performance, Emil Forsberg's deflected shot secured victory over a misfiring Switzerland which was smothered by Sweden's defence, and set up a clash with England on Saturday.

"This team personifies the approach we all share — we work for each other on and off the pitch, and I'm incredibly happy that it's paying off," Andersson told reporters.

"We're going to focus on one thing when we've digested this victory, and that's the game on Saturday. We don't even know what team we will face yet, but that is going to be the focus of our preparations," he said.

The Swedes have now seen off Netherlands from their qualifying group, Italy in a play-off, Germany at the group stage and Switzerland in the last 16, leading to questions about whether other nations have underestimated Andersson and his men.

"I think you'd have to ask everyone else that question. We know we are a good team, that we've earned our successes — we know how we got this far," the 55-year-old explained.

"We've worked this way throughout, we're continuing the same way, and what other teams and countries think about that is not terribly interesting."

The delighted Sweden fans stayed behind to sing their modest coach's name long after the final whistle, and he came back out after the teams had left the field.

"It's a surreal feeling, to be standing in St Petersburg on the pitch afterwards and people are calling out my name. That feels strange — during the match I'm very much focused on the game," he said.

Sweden may have exceeded expectations in Russia but they are not done yet, and Andersson and his squad will now assess the players and their coming opponents before going into battle again.

"Now it's about taking the next step. We're not satisfied with this, and nothing more," he said.

"We want to win the next match as well — if you start to lower the bar, the level of ambition, that's not going to make for satisfaction."

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