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England find a new calmness to banish the World Cup hoodoo
[Image: harry_kane0407.jpg]

MOSCOW, July 4 ― As captain Harry Kane walked away from the celebrating m88asia England fans after his team's heart-stopping World Cup penalty shootout win over Colombia today he looked so relaxed he could have been strolling to the corner shop for a bottle of milk.

Then it all dawned on him. Kane's face broke, his eyes closed shut in total relief and he looked to the heavens, mouthing his gratitude for the end of his team's horrendous run of defeats in major tournament shootouts.

The skipper and his team mates had kept their cool when it mattered most ― for 120 minutes of a tense and tetchy game played at a Spartak Stadium which resembled Bogota, given the dominance of Colombia's passionate supporters. England, none more so than Kane who had put them in the lead from the penalty spot in the 57th minute, held their nerve at the decisive turning-points in an intense match, showing an unexpected maturity m88 help for the youngest team left in the tournament.

They avoided losing their heads during moments of provocation from the Colombians and periods when American referee Mark Geiger lost control of the game. Crucially, they were able to stand up and fight on after the punch in the gut that came with Yerry Mina's stoppage-time equaliser. And then, facing the shootout test that has proved too much for England teams for so long, they kept their emotions in check, put history out of mind and focused on the task in hand.

The history weighed heavily ― England had the worst senior shootout m88 live record in world football, losing on penalties in World Cups in 1990, 1998 and 2006, and at the European Championship in 1996, 2004 and 2012. All that had to be banished from their minds. Kane was handed the task of opening the trial for Gareth Southgate's side and he unflappably passed the test.

Marcus Rashford also converted his penalty and after Jordan Henderson's effort was saved, the Tottenham Hotspur pair of Kieran Trippier and Eric Dier stepped up to beat David Ospina while Colombia's final two penalty-takers fluffed their lines. Victory secured, the calmness vanished immediately. The waist-coated Southgate, whose quiet confidence and tranquil air have set the tone for this side, almost collapsed as his knees buckled the very moment Dier squeezed the ball past the touch of Ospina and into the corner of the net. Southgate's assistants caught his fall and his face told his own story.

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