The misery is finally over. At last, England has a reason to celebrate after penalty kicks at the World Cup.
After a long history of heartache on the world’s grandest soccer stage, midfielder Eric Dier buried the fifth and final penalty kick to help England advance to the tournament’s quarterfinals over Colombia on Tuesday.
What a thriller it was. An instant classic even. England, which advances to play Sweden, took a 1-0 lead into stoppage time with a Harry Kane penalty kick in the 57th minute before Yerry Mina scored the equalizer for Colombia in the third minute of extra time in the second half.
Following 30 minutes of additional play, and when penalty kicks were inevitable with a 1-1 draw, it was impossible not to think about country’s history in these shootouts.
England lost its first-ever World Cup penalty kicks match against West Germany in 1990.
England then fell again in 1998 to Argentina in what some believe is one of the greatest games in World Cup history.
And if that wasn’t enough, England struggled in penalty kicks against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup.
Fast forward to the match against Colombia, and all signs pointed to more anguish, too. England fell behind 3-2 with only two kicks remaining.
Then, all of a sudden, the luck changed. Colombia’s Mateus Uribe hit the crossbar before England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saved Carlos Bacca’s attempt on the next shot.
All that was left was for Dier to end it, and the rest is history.
For the English, who always have a very talented team, this a complete sigh of relief, and you better believe they started celebrating immediately at Flat Iron Square in London.
The spectators who made the trip to Russia didn’t want to leave the stadium after the match, either.
It will take some more heroics to hoist the 2018 World Cup trophy, but no matter what happens the rest of the way, this day will always be remembered as the one where England’s penalty kick fortune changed at the World Cup.