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A forensic analysis of England’s winning moment

It was far from your standard celebration

A picture speaks a thousand words.

As Eric Dier stepped up, the hopes of a nation resting heavily on his shoulders, he shrugged off the demons of past England failures and fired calmly past David Ospina.

It’s that new-found stern mentality that has got England to this point and it’s the very thing that separates them from sides of the past – the ones who faltered when the going got tough.

History makers

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History makers

They are a complex bunch however.

As a young squad, third only to France and Nigeria as the youngest at the tournament, they all have varying attitudes. Just as all young men do.

This fact was clear for all to see after the shootout, with not every player celebrating in the exact same joyous way that you might expect.

Each player had his own ongoing narrative during the shootout, dictated by their actions and involvement in the football lottery.

The conclusions of their individual stories were all revealed after Dier’s winner.

Team spirit has been crucial to England’s success

Getty - Contributor
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Team spirit has been crucial to England’s success

Before scoring and subsequently winning the game for England, Dier had cut a pensive figure.

Remaining stone-faced, the Spurs man neglected to express any joy towards Pickford’s expert save from Carlos Bacca.

Dier was next up to the spot and decided to keep his focus, knowing that his penalty now held the power to decide the match.

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The moment was vigorously celebrated by the rest of the players, but not the Spurs man. He still had a job to do.

After Dier had converted his spot-kick however, Jordan Henderson’s reaction was an emotional one.

The Liverpool man had seen his penalty saved by David Ospina earlier in the shootout, originally putting England up against the ropes.

A long, lonely walk back for Henderson

Getty - Contributor
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A long, lonely walk back for Henderson

The fact that he had left England in the lurch and was in danger of letting his teammates down was clearly playing on his mind.

Henderson had celebrated Pickford’s save after his penalty mishap more than any other player, leaping higher than his teammates.

It is his reaction after Dier’s winner however which was particularly telling.

There was pure relief for England’s No8

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There was pure relief for England’s No8

Henderson dropped to his knees as the rest stormed off to congratulate both Dier and Pickford.

The midfielder instead spent a brief moment to collect his thoughts, expressing his relief that his penalty miss wasn’t a fatal one.

In stark contrast to the timid actions of Henderson, John Stones and Harry Maguire celebrated in their own unique way.

Did you spot it?

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Did you spot it?

The pair had been involved in a war all night and had to deal with some unfavourable Colombian antics throughout the clash.

Whilst the rest of the side were intent on celebrating together, the defenders spared a moment to give a sharp look over to their opponents.

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Stones and Maguire would have endeared themselves to the fans after this outburst aimed towards the Colombian players.

Jamie Vardy was an 88th minute substitute and had looked lively until he sustained a groin injury, which actually changed the order of England’s penalty takers.

Steady on

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Steady on

The Leicester man was clearly nursing the problem when Dier scored his penalty and has probably aggravated the injury more because of his celebrations.

Part of me firmly believes however that Vardy wasn’t considering his long-term fitness at the time and just wanted to get involved. Who can blame him?

Kyle Walker had been a willing-runner all night and impressed once again in his makeshift centre-back role.

His efforts however eventually caught up with him and he sustained cramp late in the match.

This is what 120 minutes of running does to a man

Reuters
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This is what 120 minutes of running does to a man

The injury meant that whilst the majority of his team-mates were sprinting off at full-speed, Walker fell to the ground with cramp and couldn’t join in the celebrations.

At least he was able to see the funny side of it. Presumably he has been receiving extensive social media training from Benjamin Mendy?

The various outpouring of emotions expressed by the players would have all been replicated by England fans watching the game.

Just as the majority of the squad exploded in pure joy, as did most of the fans, with an ocean of beer showering Three Lions shirts up and down the country.

Pure joy

Getty Images - Getty
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Pure joy

Some supporters however took a more reflective approach and instead paused to collect their thoughts after the history-making moment.

One thing we all had in common though was an overwhelming sense of pride towards the team.

It’s most certainly coming home now.

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