Tottenham midfielder Dier delighted to deliver from spot and make up for late miss
PUBLISHED: 14:00 04 July 2018
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The 24-year-old played a crucial part in helping England qualify for the World Cup quarter-finals
Eric Dier admitted he felt plenty of nerves when he stepped up to take England’s decisive penalty in their shoot-out win against Colombia on Tuesday night.
The Tottenham Hotspur ace was marked down as the fifth taker for Three Lions and when he walked to the spot, he had the chance to finish the last-16 tie.
Despite so much pressure on his shoulders, the midfielder fired low and hard into the corner to secure a 4-3 win for England on penalties and book their spot in the World Cup quarter-finals.
Speaking to ITV about his spot-kick straight after the game, Dier admitted: “It was a nervous one.
“I’ve never really been in a situation like that before, but I felt like I had to score after the header I missed at the end of extra-time, so I’m thankful I scored it.”
England were heading for the quarter-finals when Harry Kane fired them ahead from the spot with 57 on the clock after Carlos Sanchez had dragged him to the floor at a corner.
Colombia equalised in the final exchanges of the tie though, as Yerry Mina headed home, despite the best efforts of Kieran Trippier on the line, to make it 1-1.
It forced extra-time and in the 115th minute, Dier headed over a great opportunity and it meant penalty kicks were required.
Both captain Kane and Marcus Rashford scored before Jordan Henderson was denied by David Ospina to keep Colombia 3-2 up in the shoot-out.
Mateus Uribe then smashed an effort against the crossbar and when Trippier found the corner, it was all square again.
Next up was Carlos Bacca and when Jordan Pickford saved his effort, it gave Dier the chance to send England through to the last-eight and he did where they will face Sweden on Saturday (3pm).
The Spurs midfielder added: “Jordan was incredible, he’s a fantastic goalkeeper with a fantastic attitude and he deserves everything.
“He was fantastic in the penalty shoot-out, he was big in goal and he has been brilliant at saving penalties in training and he’s taken it into the game.”
Dier continued: “Obviously to get knocked down at the end like we did in stoppage time was difficult and it was difficult to come back from that, but we were ready and knew what we had to do.
“We stayed calm, stuck to our plan and never panicked all the way through extra-time and knew if it had to go to penalties, it had to go to penalties, so we were ready for it.”
While England supporters are now dreaming of making it all the way to the final, the journey is over for Colombia and in particular Tottenham ace Davinson Sanchez.
The 22-year-old was superb in the last-16 tie and showed why he is so high-rated by all of the staff at Spurs and Mauricio Pochettino.
He was equally colossal in the 3-0 Group H win over Poland on June 28, which saw Colombia reach the last-16, but their time in Russia has now come to an end.