Gareth Southgate's Reaction To England's Penalty Win Sums Up A Nation
An entire country had never seen its footballers win a World Cup match on penalties until last night so it's no wonder that Gareth Southgate nearly fell to his knees in happiness.
Euro 96, over 20 years ago, when football genuinely came home. That was the last, and only, time that England had won a game on penalties and five penalty shoot-out losses later people were starting to worry if they'd ever see England win one.
Losses on the dreaded spot kicks in 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2012 had left everyone rather worried about the prospect of another shootout.
Then last night against Colombia, in a game England should have won in 90 minutes, it went to penalties and as a nation everyone, to borrow a phrase from Three Lions, had seen it all before.
Jordan Henderson's failed spot kick made the loss seem even more inevitable than the moment Radamel Falcao struck the first one away but history wasn't to repeat itself.
Mateus Uribe struck the crossbar with the very next attempt after Henderson's effort was saved and then Jordan Pickford saved Carlos Bacca's shot. Eric Dier's scored penalty gave England the win and Gareth Southgate's wonderful mix of relief and elation summed up everyone's feelings:
For the England manager the feeling must have been incredible. As a player for the national team he missed in the shoot-out in Euro 96 that England lost, just days after their win, with the defenter's effort the only miss.
The history making moment from Dier kicked off incredible scenes for the England players as they rushed towards Pickford to celebrate his save from Bacca that set up the win.
One player who took an extra moment before joining in the celebrations was Henderson. He had another solid game but his relief at the win after his own miss was palpable:
For Southgate though it's a long story that has gone from him being in a Pizza Hut advert to a World Cup quarter final.
There's only one more place for it to go and that's home!