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Inside England’s incredible penalty shootout victory against Colombia

What was it like witnessing the whole spectacle inside the Spartak Stadium in Moscow? A blend of yellow dots and a lot of noise

Eric Dier tucking away a winning penalty in a World Cup match is a moment I will never forget.

Which is a bit of a shame, because all I remember has already become a bit of a blur.

There was lots of noises, my head got buried underneath a couple of others, and my body went into some sort of shock.

In a World Cup full of surprises, what happened on Tuesday night was potentially the biggest of the lot.

Nothing else in life would get two strangers embracing five seconds after meeting

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Nothing else in life would get two strangers embracing five seconds after meeting

England winning a penalty shootout in a World Cup? Nope, there’s something wrong with the system – turn it off and on again.

I’ve mentioned it before but this tournament may be hosted in Russia, but belongs to the South Americans.

The England fans were outnumbered by about five to one inside the stadium, with Colombian supporters next to us happily bouncing up and down throughout the 120 minutes – Eric Dier put an end to that.

Important

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Important

The atmosphere did get a bit spicy at times, with some fans exchanging words as the game progressed, but in the spirit of the tournament, it didn’t spill over into anything serious.

They may have been outnumbered but the England fans were not outsung and the merry few thousand that arrived at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow were going to stand their ground in the face of a yellow sea of chanting.

There were certain things before the game that gave us hope – the weather was particularly English, with cloudy, gloomy skies and a lower temperature than normal giving it a Saturday afternoon in Bolton type feel.

The good ship Southgate

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The good ship Southgate

There was the walk to the stadium from the Metro station, with England fans in full force belting out the full range of songs from Three Lions to the new, incredibly catchy Atomic Kitten-inspired tune about our new Lord and Saviour, Gareth Southgate.

With that in mind, it seemed inevitable that Harry Kane would score a penalty that he himself won by being wrestled to the ground from a corner.

What wasn’t inevitable was Yerry Mina popping up with a heartbreaking 95th-minute header, greeted with the most deafening noise I’ve ever heard inside a football stadium.

Nervous? Of course

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Nervous? Of course

Then, penalties.

We clearly weren’t going to win, because we never do, right?

But we did – and that’s when things start becoming a bit hazy.

It’s a blur, you know something incredible has just happened but your brain can’t seem to find the right movements or emotion to accurately represent the feelings you’re currently experiencing.

A night they’ll never forget

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A night they’ll never forget

The England fans to the right of us erupt – most of us have never experienced this new, unfamiliar feeling before.

You glance around and realise that in amongst all this joy, there’s desperate pain as well, as Colombians weep and stand in silence at the agony they’ve just experienced.

Indescribable scenes

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Indescribable scenes

The England team, the fearless Three Lions lads, come and applaud the assembled crowd – they know this night is a special one, too.

A chorus of England’s gone to Russia continues for over 20 minutes non-stop – after all, no-one knows quite how to react, so we’ll stick to what we know best.

And slowly but surely, at around midnight, the crowds start to leave the stadium.

The journey back to the city centre is an unsurprisingly joyous one, with fans still turning to their mates in slight disbelief – so the songs begin again.

All aboard the party train, not stopping until football comes home

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All aboard the party train, not stopping until football comes home

Mixing it with fans from everywhere, but this night belonged to England

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Mixing it with fans from everywhere, but this night belonged to England

It’s late, and in some ways too late even for a city the size of Moscow.

Most bars, pubs and restaurants have closed by the time we arrive back into the city at around 1am – but on a night as momentous as this, those who seek long enough will find beer eventually.

And so, our eyes turn towards Samara.

Most fans who’ve made the trip to Moscow will also be heading south-west for Saturday, as a showdown with Sweden awaits.

Will another penalty shootout beckon?

Who cares, we’ve been there and done it now – after tonight, it genuinely does feel like football is edging that little bit closer home.

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