Analysis

World Cup wrap, Day 20: Sweden advance and England finally triumph on penalties

Another dramatic day at the World Cup, another penalty shootout; here's what you missed...

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Story of the day

England has won a penalty shootout. We've rewatched it three times and - yes - that actually happened.

WIth some perfect symmetry, Gareth Southgate has returned as manager to see his country beyond its great nemesis. In the cold light of day, the game itself was frustratingly chaotic, littered with fouls and a victim of weak officiating, but it was nonetheless a wonderful catharsis - and a deserved one, too, given the ugly Colombian behaviour which they'd had to withstand for most of the 120 minutes.

Southgate and England are still alive. Just.

Today in 30 seconds

England and Colombia served up that fractious nonsense of a game. England took the lead just after half-time, Harry Kane converting a penalty after Carlos Sanchez had wrestled him to the floor in the box, but Colombia would equalize with one of the last kicks of the game. Barcelona's Yerry Mina leaped highest to meet a corner and powered his header down and beyond Jordan Pickford.

Nevertheless, England would survive a dicey extra-time to advance, Jordan Pickford saving dramatically from Carlos Bacca and Eric Dier calmly converting the winning kick.

Sweden against Switzerland wasn't quite the appetizer it was meant to be. Two evenly matched teams, each clearly afraid of elimination, played out a stale game - perhaps it was the universe's way of paying us back for last night's drama? Emil Forsberg gave Sweden its lead, shooting in via a deflection just after an hour, and Switzerland never really looked like coming back into the game.

The Swedes are through to the quarter-finals, the Swiss have now gone four World Cup knockout games without scoring a goal.

Play of the day

It was ultimately futile, because Mina scored from the resulting corner, but Jordan Pickford's stunning stretch to deny Mateus Uribe was the day's outstanding moment. Pickford remains a goalkeeping work-in-progress, certainly, but his shot-stopping ability is under dispute. A truly marvellous save and one which will still be among the tournament's best in two weeks' time.

Man of the moment

England against Colombia was chaos. Some might enjoy the kind of football, revelling in its hostility, but the tone of the game was allowed to descend beyond a reasonable level. In these new, VAR-supported days, criticising referees always feels a little mean-spirited, but Mark Geiger must take responsibility for that.

A referee is a game's author in the broad sense and the failure to send off Wilmar Barrios in the first-half set an unhelpful precedent which was duly exploited by players from both sides. This could have been the round's outstanding footballing contest, but instead it was an angry, ugly mess.

The weird and wacky

Argentina may have been eliminated, but Diego Maradona isn't quite done with the news cycle yet. He appeared on Venezuelan television yesterday to give his thoughts on a range of issues, including Neymar's play-acting, Brazil's chances of winning the competition and, of course, his own country's performance.

"I wish God gave me the strength to return to the field," he said. "The years and life go on for everyone and I get to 57 years of age watching my team beaten by a team that I do not think is one of the best at the World Cup.

"It makes me feel bad - everything we built with much effort was destroyed very easily."

That may be slightly melodramatic, but Argentina was admittedly poor - and Diego is offering to guide them back to the top of world football, confirming that he will gladly replace Jorge Sampaoli as head-coach and take no salary for the privilege.

Hmmm. Sorry Diego, 2010 isn't long enough ago for anyone at the AFA to think that would be a good idea.

What's next?

Two days of... nothing?! No, this can't be. 

Friday:

10 a.m. ET Uruguay vs. France, FS1/Telemundo

2 p.m. ET Brazil vs. Belgium, FS1/Telemundo

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