I saw it with my own eyes, I did. England, having missed a penalty in the shootout, recovered and knocked out Colombia on spot kicks. It actually happened. At least, I presume it did – I wasn’t there myself.
Do you remember when you had fingernails? Yeah, me too. Once more, England went from 1-0 and pretty comfortable (despite Colombia’s chats with Uruguay, Argentina and Portugal on the subject of how to be complete shithouses in a match) to conceding very, very late (is there any other type of goal in this World Cup) and then looking like a team that has never played together in extra-time.
But none of that matters now. Not even a little bit. We are through to the Final! We just have to beat Sweden and probably Croatia first.
Don’t forget though, had the game been on the BBC then we probably wouldn’t have gone to extra time, the whole thing would have been wrapped up within 90 and the pubs across the land would made far less money over the bar. But it wasn’t, it was live with Glenn Hoddle and that is never an easy experience.
If the sight of Wes Brown warming up the crowd didn’t get you excited for the Round of 16 clash then you should be ashamed to be English (well, more than you probably have been for the last 18-months or so, anyway).
England, in World Cup winning red, were in control and causing Colombia all kinds of problems. Mind you, Colombia were causing a few for themselves as well, especially Mrs Flintstone, Wilmer Barrios.
Gareth Southgate‘s men had their insurance excuse tucked firmly under their arm before halftime as Wilmer B landed a double headbutt of sorts on Jordan Henderson who went down a bit like Grandad’s Jenga tower after a few whiskies at Christmas. VAR had a look and chose not to suggest that the referee Mark Geiger take another look at it on the monitor. Each headbutt, albeit delivered within two seconds of each other, were a yellow card in their own right and two yellows equal what, exactly?
Mind you, Liverpool captain Henderson’s acting was so bad it would not have looked out of place on Brookside and it led to the only time in my life I found myself comparing him to Neymar.
At halftime, one of the Colombian coaches decided to show Raheem Sterling what a real shoulder barge looks like and collected £200 from Piers Morgan in the process. It was all going off.
But England remained calm, mostly and when Harry Kane had the chance, 20 minutes after it was awarded, to put England ahead from the spot we knew what the outcome would be. 1-0, job done!
Except injury time is a curious thing in Russia. It is like a parallel universe of footballing weirdness. Pickford’s wonder save led to a late, late corner for Colombia. And what are you always told to when defending corners? Mark the big lad!
Yerry Mina. 6ft 5. Wearing a big, bright yellow shirt. Not that hard to miss. But miss him England he did and it went to extra time.
Many people are fans of the “things we learned” columns that you see everywhere nowadays. Here’s what we learned in extra time. Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson should not be on the pitch at the same time. There, simple.
But thank the stars Dier was on the pitch at the end because eventually, he did kick the ball where he wanted it to go and England went through. Plus, Pickford may not be very tall but he has very long arms so it is OK.
On Saturday England play Sweden in the Quarter Final. A Zlatanless Sweden who beat a tepid Swiss side 1-0 earlier in the day. A Sweden who have now gone further than they ever went with that self-proclaimed lion in the team. A Swedish nation that England have never beaten in an international tournament.
Mind you, as I was reminded last night, they had never won a World Cup shoot out either.