England's Kieran Trippier says hard work paid off in World Cup win

Arnold Nichols
July 5, 2018

The Atletico Madrid player isn't blessed with numerous physical characteristics of a classically dominant defender; he doesn't have outstanding pace, nor does he possess the height or the bulk to be an imposing powerhouse of a defender. To state the obvious, neither result would in itself be good enough for England to progress on Saturday, and would force a penalty shootout. Even Prince William took to Twitter to say, "I couldn't be prouder of england - a victory in a penalty shootout!" "Born on Winston Churchill's birthday, Gary Winston Lineker came to England's rescue against a force that left them trembling", wrote William Gildea in The Post. In goal, Russia's veteran shot-stopper Igor Akinfeev was an obvious choice following his all-important penalty save that sent his team to the quarter-finals of the competition.

Neymar is a world class footballer who does not need to exaggerate when he is fouled because it does not earn him any sympathy, claims Lothar Matthaus said.

Former England captain Wayne Rooney believes the country is right to start "dreaming" of winning the World Cup this year.

After three unsuccessful attempts - in Turin, St Etienne and Gelsenkirchen - England buried their penalty ghost at Moscow's Spartak Stadium on Tuesday evening following a dramatic, energy-sapping, and bruising, 1-1 draw against Colombia. Way too often a Spanish player would check and move horizontally rather than look to move into space, making it easy for a courageous but limited Russian Federation side to pack their defence and hang on for a penalty shootout which had a feeling of inevitability about it.

Belgium were on the brink of another major tournament failure when trailing 2-0 with 21 minutes to play, only for a magnificent breakway goal by Nacer Chadli in the fourth minute of injury-time to cap a stunning fightback.

But the world's most expensive player has hit the headlines as much for his perceived play-acting as for the on-pitch performances that have helped his side ease into the last eight without ever being seriously troubled.

Unlike the game today - and as we saw with Gareth Southgate's England - there hadn't been anything before the game, nothing at half-time, about what would occur if it was to go to penalties.

The song reached number one, as did the tweaked '98 version for the 1998 World Cup campaign.

The centre-back pairing consists of Colombia's Yerry Mina, who scored his third goal in three matches in Los Cafeteros' defeat to England on Tuesday evening, and Brazil's experienced defender Thiago Silva, who was on also on target in their round of 16 game. The FA hired Pippa Grange, a psychologist who has been tasked with improving the team's "psychological resilience", and they are one of the very few football organisations - be it national teams or domestic clubs - who are alive to the opportunities that analytics offers in the sport.

But for the 47-year-old, who made 57 appearance for England, the memory of his own shootout failure remains vivid.

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