July 3, 2018 / 9:39 PM / 4 months ago

Don't panic: Dier says England just kept calm

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Eric Dier said England kept calm and did not panic as his successful penalty against Colombia gave his side their first ever win in a World Cup shootout on Tuesday in Moscow.

Soccer Football - World Cup - Round of 16 - Colombia vs England - Spartak Stadium, Moscow, Russia - July 3, 2018 England's Eric Dier scores a penalty during the shootout REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

“To get knocked down like we did is difficult to come back from it,” Dier said after Yerry Mina had equalized for the Colombians in stoppage time to force the match into goalless extra time.

“We knew what we had to do and we stayed calm,” he added after the 4-3 shootout win. “We never panicked. We were ready for that.”

Coach Gareth Southgate, who knows what it is like to be on the losing end of a shootout as an England player, said the victory was “fantastic”, adding: “I think we deserved it as well.”

“We showed incredible resilience to come back from huge disappointment at the final whistle and keep our calm. It’s a special moment for us.”

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who palmed away a shot from Carlos Bacca after Mateus Uribe had hit the woodwork, said he had done his homework to try not to follow a succession of England goalkeepers to walk off the loser after a shootout.

“I did all my research. I’ve got power and agility. I don’t care if I’m not the biggest keeper because it’s about being there in the moment and making the save and I was,” he said.

“It’s all about the set position and I got a hand to it. We knew we had this game, even if it had to go to penalties, we knew we were capable of winning.”

Captain Harry Kane, who scored the penalty that put England 1-0 up in the second half and also converted the first spot kick in the shootout, said England showed great character after conceding at the death.

“We are so unlucky not to go through in 90 minutes,” he said.

But he added: “No one laid on the floor and we stood there when it counted... It was a big night for England. In the shootout we had to stand up and that’s what we have done.”

Dier, who had to step up fifth to win the game, confessed: “It was a nervous one. I’ve never really been in a situation like that before but felt I had to score after missing the header at the end so I’m just thankful I scored.”

Kieran Trippier said coach Southgate’s side prepared well for penalty kicks, which have been a jinx for England who had previously lost all three shootouts they had been involved in at World Cups and only won one at a European Championship.

“We practiced and practiced and it paid off,” Trippier said.

The practice did not prevent Jordan Henderson’s penalty — England’s third — being saved: “We have been practicing them for a while now and the manager picked the five that he wanted. Unfortunately, I didn’t score but the other lads were brilliant,” said Henderson.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald, editing by Neil Robinson; @macdonaldrtr

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