Of course, it went to penalties. It always goes to penalties and England were as always expected to lose. It had become something of a theme over the past years. England had never won a penalty shootout at a world cup.

But this a new England, an England team with young players and smiles on their faces with a belief that it doesn’t always have to be the way it has been and they don’t have to burden the responsibility of what they haven’t been responsible for. And last night in Moscow was the start of the story of this England. A story of an English team that their nation can be proud of. A story of the young lions who roared in Russia. The story of a new era in English football.

The Columbians played a ragged game of football, trying to frustrate the English and also got away with a lot of fouls even inside the penalty area. It’s certainly safe to say that referee got a lot of his decisions wrong and the Three Lions finally broke the deadlock after a Penalty was finally awarded and Kane struck it smoothly into the middle of the net and became the only English player to score 6 goals at a world cup.

After the first goal, England were yet again in familiar territory hoping that the clock will get them past the line and when Lingard was tripped inside the penalty box, the English thought the game was done and dusted but it was not. The penalty wasn’t awarded. Pekerman brought on Bacca to replace Falcao which gave them a physical presence in front of goal. Bacca led the Columbian attack and put immense pressure on the English defence that scrambled to clear their lines. Yerri Mina yet again gave Columbia a glimmer of hope and he rose to a fantastic header to draw level.

As the game went to extra time, both the teams managed to scuff opportunities and then came the shootout. Nightmare for England.

When Jordan Henderson missed the third spot-kick after the first two were converted, it looked as if history would repeat itself, but who would have thought the man who was scrutinized since his England call-up for being England’s number one keeper would turn up and be the hero?

As Pickford saved Bacca’s penalty and the previous one had hit the post, it was up to Dier to end England’s penalty curse. He slotted it home past the diving Ospina and quickly found himself buried under the celebrating English players.

These young men from England have watched their team disappoint throughout their childhood and who knew that one day they would step up and put an end to the misery. Even if they don’t win the World cup, the character and game they have shown is something the entire nation should be proud of and it may only get better if they distance themselves from their country’s dark past. Because these young lads have a chance to write their own history and after last night, “Football’s already come home.”

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