LONDON, United Kingdom, Jul 4 – Fans packed into sweaty pubs in the heart of Harry Kane territory in north London celebrated England’s dramatic 4-3 win against Colombia on penalties after a rollercoaster night.
As the British capital swelters in a heatwave, supporters swung from ecstasy to despair and back again, scarcely believing their side had overcome their debilitating spot-kick hoodoo.
Kane set England on their way with a penalty in the 57th-minute in Moscow and it looked like that would be enough to book a quarter-final match against Sweden.
But Colombia’s giant defender Yerry Mina scored with a last-gasp header to take the match into extra time.
Neither side could break the deadlock in the extra 30 minutes and the game went to penalties. Kane was successful again but England wobbled before Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier blasted home to spark scenes of delight in the Russian capital and in London.
At the Bricklayers, a pub deep in Tottenham territory, where England captain Kane also plies his trade, the floor was slick with spilt beer after the final whistle as fans went crazy, with one removing his shirt to a chorus of “Football’s Coming Home”.
“Being an England supporter, I was a bit nervous because we’ve never been any good at penalties,” pub worker Garry Brookes told AFP as he charged out into the beer garden during the post-match chaos.
“But with Kane at the head of the side — he’s the main man.”
Around 100 supporters had crammed inside the dark bar — with windows covered by flags and scarves — on a humid evening.
Earlier, at kickoff, there was an air of palpable tension in the pub, populated overwhelmingly by men, with just a solitary cheer from a drinker as the pre-game national anthem concluded.
But as the match turned feisty, with eight yellow cards handed out — including six for the Colombians– the crowd came to life — jeering the South American side’s antics but excusing England’s misdemeanours.
As tensions rose, an apparent headbutt from Colombia midfielder Wilmar Barrios on Jordan Henderson led to one call for him to “hang”.
As England were forced into extra time one workman, still wearing his hi-visibility jacket, said he was “heartbroken” at the prospect of losing.
“I won’t be back at work tomorrow”, he said.
But after the match — and England’s victory — fans could afford to be more philosophical about the play-acting of the Colombians.
“As far as I know it’s part of football — that’s how I see it,” said Munir Ibrham as he relaxed at the bar in the post-match haze.