England manager Gareth Southgate knows there were a lot of ways things could’ve gone sideways for his team in Tuesday’s World Cup Round of 16 defeat of Colombia.
[ RECAP: England 1-1 (4-3 PKs) Colombia ]
For one thing, there was the stoppage time equalizer that allowed Colombia back into the match on one of its few chances in the 1-1 match.
Then, there was the first 15 minutes of extra time, which was decidedly in the favor of Los Cafeteros.
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But the key problem point, you see, was England’s fourth set of World Cup penalty kicks. The Three Lions had lost the first three, and Southgate himself had missed a PK for his country during EURO 1996.
Only Jordan Henderson missed his kick on Tuesday, as England won 4-3.
“Their resilience, the way that they played the whole game, it would’ve been an injustice had we lost. To then come back from the hammer blow right on the final whistle, we kept our shape, and we didn’t get drawn in to trying to win the game.
“We talked about not being bound by history, and it’s a special night for every Englishman because we’ve had so many difficult ones. I’m now thinking Sweden. We’ve got three games to prepare. We’re high as a kite but our record against Sweden is another one to put right.”
“I think they are growing in belief. They believe in all of our staff because so much work has gone into the project to get over the line.”
How far do you think England will go? Sweden is next, and a win would give them either Croatia or Russia in the semifinal.