Jamie Vardy might be having a party, but last night he wasn’t taking a penalty. Not a chance, mate.
Excuse the weak attempt at #banter there. Like yourselves, I’m coming around a bit from England’s terrific, unquestionably deserved win against Colombia last night, whose dirty tactics were no match for our boys in red.
Despite bagging an equaliser in added time at the end of the second half, the Colombian national side went away from the game empty handed and shell-shocked. Stunned stupid by the audacious, ever-hungry energy of the roaring three lions.
It all came down to penalties. Vardy was due to take what would become England’s winning spot kick, but unfortunately something had come in his way.
In the aftermath of the game it was revealed Vardy had suffered a groin strain during last night’s game.
As a result, he then offered Eric Dier to take his position and bring football that little bit closer to home.
Gareth Southgate shed some light on the decision for the lineup, saying:
[We were] just making sure we had our order right. We had to make a couple of changes because of injuries during the extra-time period.
But we knew it was a process we were in charge of and the guys executed it brilliantly.
For the belief of this group of players, and groups of players to come, it was a really important moment. Not just winning the shootout but having to suffer at the end of the game in a stadium that was five to one Colombian fans and felt like an away fixture. To come through all of that – we’ve spoken to the players about writing their own stories. Tonight they showed they don’t have to conform to what’s gone before. They have created their own history, and I don’t want to go home yet.
Missing my penalty [at Euro 96] will never be ‘off my back’, sadly. That’s something that will live with me for ever. But today is a special moment for this team. It’ll hopefully give belief to the generations of players that will follow. We always have to believe in what is possible in life and not be hindered by history or expectations. These young players are showing that. I’m already thinking about Sweden, a team I respect hugely. We’ve always underestimated them, and we don’t have a good record against them, but they have a clear way of playing and it’s bloody difficult to play against. But what a game to look forward to.
Beautiful. Mesmerising. A night for the ages.
If you have a story to tell, contact UNILAD via [email protected]