England did it the hard way but they secured their place in the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup with a win on penalties over Colombia.
Gareth Southgate’s men were held to a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes, with Harry Kane’s penalty being cancelled out by Yerry Mina’s dramatic injury-time equaliser.
It was a major setback for the Three Lions as they had undoubtedly deserved to win having made an impressive start to the game and they produced the better chances throughout the encounter.
However, credit must also go to Colombia for battling on, but they were set for heartbreak in the penalty shootout as Jordan Pickford produced a decisive save before Eric Dier made no mistake and sent them through to the quarter-finals to face Sweden.
Unsurprisingly, Pickford receives a high mark as he also produced a stunning save just before Mina’s equaliser, while he looked assured throughout whether it was claiming crosses into his box or rushing out to clear danger.
Further, the defensive line all impressed with Man City ace John Stones putting in a great shift on and off the ball, while club teammate Kyle Walker and particularly Harry Maguire looked dominant as Tottenham’s Kieran Trippier was constantly up and down the right flank impressing in both facets of the game.
Spurs ace Harry Kane also deserves a special mention after leading the line well, dropping deep to create space for others and to open up pockets to run into for himself while also keeping his cool to fire in his sixth goal of the tournament.
The likes of Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli will hope to be more influential next time out after struggling to have a telling impact, while it was a similar story for Jesse Lingard too in what was a physical and bad-tempered clash at times.
Jordan Henderson wasn’t his typical controlling self in midfield either, and so while there are obvious areas to improve in, Southgate and his England players will just be delighted to make it through as they continue to build belief and momentum in Russia.
England player ratings: Pickford 8, Walker 7, Stones 8, Maguire 8, Trippier 8, Young 7, Henderson 6, Lingard 6, Alli 6, Sterling 6, Kane 8.
Substitutes: Dier 6, Vardy 6, Rose 6, Rashford N/A,