England PK heroes Dier, Pickford react to win

AP Photo/Antonio Calanni
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With all the eyes in England watching him, Eric Dier scored the decisive penalty kick to send the Three Lions to the World Cup quarterfinals.

[ RECAP: England 1-1 (4-3 PKs) Colombia ]

A non-descript match in terms of attack for most of the game — there were plenty of fouls — a Harry Kane penalty kick was the only goal until Colombia struck via a Yerry Mina header in second half stoppage time.

At that point, England predictably was rattled but battled to survive extra time and reach its old nemesis: penalty kicks. After Jordan Henderson was saved by David Ospina and Manuel Uribe hit the cross bar, England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saved Carlos Bacca’s effort to set the stage for Dier.

He didn’t miss.

“To get knocked down like we did is difficult to come back from it,” Dier said, according to the BBC. “We knew what we had to do and we stayed calm. We never panicked. We were ready for that.”

Here are more of his thoughts, as aired on FOX:

“It was a nervous one. I’ve never really been in a situation like that before but I felt like I had to score after missing the header I missed at the end there so I’m just thankful I scored that one.

“(Jordan Pickford) is a fantastic goalkeeper, has a fantastic attitude, and deserves everything. He’s been brilliant in training and taken it into the game.”

And here’s Pickford:

“I did all my research on them for starters. We had a fair feeling. Falcao’s the only one who really didn’t go his way. I’ve got power and agility. I don’t care if I’m not the biggest keeper but I’ve got that power and agility around the goal. It’s about being there in the moment and making the save and I was.”

The buzz after the match is that England has exorcised its penalty kick demons, having lost its first three World Cup penalty shootouts. If the Three Lions don’t win it all — and the bracket is clear for a run at it — at least perhaps that will be the enduring memory of the tournament.