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England end their penalty curse, beat Colombia in petulant game

ESPN's Charlie Gibson queries fans about England's World Cup chances while colleague Chris Mendes takes in all the action at Flat Iron Square in London.

MOSCOW -- Three points from England's 4-3 penalty-shootout win vs. Colombia, following a 1-1 draw after extra time, in the World Cup round of 16:

1. England win a penalty shootout!

England ended their World Cup penalties misery with a 4-3 win shootout against Colombia in Moscow, a success that saw them claim victory from spot kicks for the first time since 1996.

Jordan Pickford's save from Colombia's Carlos Bacca, following Mateus Uribe's miss, enabled Eric Dier to score the decisive kick for England, which sends them through to a quarterfinal clash with Sweden in Samara on Saturday.

England, which led 1-0 until Yerry Mina's 93rd-minute header canceled out Harry Kane's penalty opener, went into the shootout having won just one of their previous seven.

That came 22 years ago, against Spain at Euro 96, but it has been otherwise been a tale of woe, with current manager Gareth Southgate famously missing the crucial kick in a defeat against Germany later in the same tournament.

And when Jordan Henderson missed with England's third kick, it looked like history would repeat. But England bounced back to win and remain in Russia.

If they can win a penalty shootout, surely anything is now possible?

After a night of drama, England found a way to stay in the World Cup.
During a night of drama, England found a way to stay in the World Cup.

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2. Geiger loses control

Referee Mark Geiger had a night to forget in Moscow, with the American official struggling to regain control of this feisty game after failing to send off Colombia defender Wilmar Barrios for a first-half head-butt.

Geiger appeared to have his back to the incident when Barrios caught Henderson, leaving the England midfielder with a blooded lip.

But despite appearing not to see the clash, Geiger issued a yellow card, prompting derision from some former referees -- Englishmen Keith Hackett and Mark Clattenburg among them -- on social media, questioning when a deliberate head-butt became a yellow card offence.

From that point on, both sets of players became embroiled in a bad-tempered affair and Geiger brandished eight yellow cards in total, equaling the tournament record. There were attempts to get opponents booked, while players began to roll around theatrically as Geiger failed to assert his authority.

And when he awarded England a second-half penalty, Geiger took too long to deal with the Colombia players haranguing him and protesting the decision.

He eventually regained control as the game moved into extra-time but, in a World Cup that has seen some outstanding officiating, Geiger's performance -- and that of his assistants and the VAR team -- left much to be desired.

3. Colombia play with fear, lose their heads

Until they equalised in the 93rd minute, Colombia's main tactic for this game appeared to focus upon turning it into a negative, cynical battle for a place in the quarterfinals.

Perhaps the loss through injury of James Rodriguez, who watched from the stands, forced coach Jose Pekerman into adopting the unsavoury tactics; but by going down that route, Colombia simply showed England that they feared them. Had Colombia played the expansive passing game that proved too much for Poland during the group stages, they would surely have made life more difficult for England, who have always found it tough against opponents who can dominate possession.

But instead they sacrificed their best hope of winning this game by turning it into a kicking match because, if England are capable of anything, it is standing up to a physical challenge.

In many ways, it was sad to see a team of such talent as this Colombia side resorting to such tactics. But from the moment they tugged and grappled England players at the first corner, it was clear that Colombia only had one approach.

Barrios should have seen red and Santiago Arias deserved more than one yellow card and the scenes of players surrounding referee Geiger after his penalty award for England were shameful. Colombia are usually a team that plays with a smile on its face, but too often in this game it was a nasty scowl.

Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_

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