Eric Dyer He walks into the penalty area expecting a country to rest on his shoulders. He believes himself and takes a deep breath. that’s it.
“He puts the ball on right away…” The commentator whispered with slight anticipation in his voice.
England fans take a dose of Strongbow Dark Fruit to try and calm the nerves but the scale of the situation transcends everything.
Dyer looks tense. He takes four or five steps back, looks at David Ospina as if to say “please don’t memorize this” and lets him rip his trusty right shoe.
To this day, I’m not sure how the ball crept in under the Colombia goalkeeper, who should have really avoided it, but who cares.
“England won on penalties,” shouted the commentator. “History in itself for this new team.”
“The World Cup quarter-finals and who knows where behind it!”
The country explodes in a state of euphoria.
Soaked in fluid, she begins cuddling random people in the bar as Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and John Stones embrace goalkeeper Jordan Pickford – the hero of the hour.
But in the midst of it all, Gareth Southgate, in his now-famous bodice, takes a step back.
Instead of celebrating with his team, the England boss decided to muffle his emotions and ensure that Mateus Uribe is fine.
The Colombian was crying as he stood next to his manager, covering his face with his shirt, but Southgate went to put an arm around his shoulder and offered some words of encouragement.
He knew what it was like to be sad after missing the penalty kick in the penalty shootout at Euro 96.
Meanwhile, relieved Eric Dyer, still feeling the effects of the sheer stress of it all, was called in for an interview:
“She was nervous,” he said after the final whistle. “I’ve never been in a situation like this before.”
“But I felt the need to score after I finally lost my head so I’m thankful I scored.”
England have failed us many times over the years. Defeats in 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2012 left everyone worried about the prospect of another shootout.
But the summer of 2016 was different. We had faith.
The Three Lions did not reach the final but this group of players made us proud. There was no great ego in this team. No tantrums, frowns or bad behavior.
They made the country love football again and we thank them for that.