If you were out on the streets anywhere in England late last night, you might have heard a jolly little song floating around on the warm summer breeze. Chants of ‘it’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming…football’s coming home,’ could be heard in every corner of the country.
If you haven’t already heard, England ended the curse of their penalty shootout woes last night to beat Colombia 4-3 on penalties.
It was a sight none of us thought we’d ever see…England winning a penalty.
England’s knockout game was played in Moscow, in front of a crowd of around 30,000 Colombians and only 2000 England fans! But it was the 2000 who were celebrating at the end of the game after Dier scored us our winning penalty.
Our nerves could have been calmed much earlier in the game after Kane scored a penalty against Colombia during normal time. However, a few minutes into added time, Yerry Mina of Colombia headed it in from a corner to equalise 1-1 with the three lions, forcing us into extra time.
As extra time drew to a close with no progression from either side, we had to face what we knew had knocked us out of many tournaments…penalties!
Jordan Henderson was the first not to score thanks to a fine David Ospina save, fuelling fears of yet more penalties heartache for England – but then Mateus Uribe clattered the next spot kick off the underside of the crossbar.
Then, after Pickford saved a shot from Carlos Bacca and Dier got one in, the whole country went crazy as it meant England was propelled into the quarter finals, the first time since 2006 when the World Cup was held in Germany.
And the route to the final has never been better! England will play Sweden next on Saturday, 7th July at Cosmos Arena, Samara. Stats give England an overwhelming favourite to beat the Scandinavian side, with a 52% chance of winning within 90 minutes compared to a 20% chance for Sweden.
However, this World Cup has been the most unpredictable and therefore anything could happen. If England beat Sweden, they will face either Croatia or Russia in the semi-finals.
Get through the semis, which is very probably, then we will most probably face Brazil in the finals.
England reaching the finals of a World Cup has been a dream for so many for so long, and this time, just this time we might finally do it! And whilst winning the tournament would be such an incredible achievement, I think reaching the finals will be enough to satisfy the most ardent of England fans. Coming second in a World Cup is no bad thing.
And after England’s performance last night, we are now joint second-favourites to win the tournament, behind Brazil and tied with France.
England have seen their odds slashed from 6-1 to 7/2 in the wake of the win that puts them through to the quarter-final against Sweden.
France, 4-3 winners over Argentina on Saturday, are also 7/2 to win the tournament whilst Croatia, who face hosts Russia in the last eight, are fourth on 11/2.
Belgium, who will have to contend with Brazil on Friday, are at 6/1 while two-time winners Uruguay are 14/1.
Latest odds to win the World Cup (William Hill at 2100GMT on July 3):
COME ON ENGLAND!