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How Cristiano Ronaldo inspired England’s triumph over Colombia in the FIFA World Cup 2018.

The Portuguese footballer played a role in the success of England NT who advanced to the round of 8 in the FIFA World Cup 2018 after eliminating the South-American side; Colombia.

Published By: Dalipinder Singh Sandhu (Bliss)

The England NT last night ended its penalty shoot-out curse which haunted them in the World Cup tournaments in the previous years. The English side last night booked a place in the round of 8 where they will face Sweden.

Penalties were the key part of England’s success against Colombia as they capitalized on their 1-0 lead after the England Captain Harry Kane converted from the spot in the 57th minute of the game.

The celebrations couldn’t last much longer for the ‘three lions’ as the 90+3 minute corner of Colombia saw Yerry Mina head the ball right in the back of the net and ending the regular time of football in a 1-1 draw.

The game advanced into the extra time where none of the team could get a goal and hence it came down to the penalty shootouts. Colombia won the toss and their captain Radamael Falcao chose to go first as the statistics show the team which goes first is more likely to emerge as victorious. Though that has not been the case in FIFA World Cup 2018 and all of the three penalty shootouts (including the latest one of England vs Colombia) have favored the team which goes second.

England won 4-3 on penalties as only the Liverpool captain Jordon Henderson missed the penalty for the English side. Mateus Uribe and Carlos Bacca were the unfortunate ones who couldn’t convert and capitalize for Colombia hence resulting in the elimination.

The preparations from the English side for such a scenario have been going on for quite a few weeks now. The FA Technical Director, Dan Ashworth claimed in the first week of May 2018 that the reason has been found why England have been suffering when it comes to the penalty shootout.

“We’ve got a research team on it to come back with some interesting findings. How are we going to get over that? Because if you’re going to win a World Cup, statistics will tell you that you’ll have to get through one round on penalties. And they had some quite inventive ways of how they dealt with that.”

The record for England NT shows that they were knocked out in FIFA World Cup 1990, 1998, and 2006 in the penalty shootout. Same was the case in the UEFA Euro Championship 1996, 2004, and 2012.

“You can break the penalty shoot-out down. So, when the whistle goes, you’ve got a couple of minutes to prepare, so how do you do that? Where do you do that on the pitch? Who’s involved? Where do you stand [as a team during the shoot-out]? From where do you begin the walk?”

The research showed that the England players were too quick to take the penalty which cost them with the chance of converting.

“So, there’s been a little bit of research done to show that English players are quick to the ball when the whistle goes. When the referee’s whistle goes, you’ve got as long as you want to take the penalty.”

Dan Ashford claimed that they studied one of the best penalty takers in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo in order to replicate his technique and style to change the fate of England in the penalty shootouts.

“As a nation, over the years we’ve been a bit quick. You look at the other nations, they take a bit more time. There are some interesting patterns. For example, Cristiano Ronaldo’s self-control is incredible.”

Cristiano Ronaldo’s decisive penalty against Juventus in UEFA Champions League quarterfinal, second leg.
(Agg. score RM 4-3 Juve).
12th April 2018.

The other ways of coping with the stress were indoor practices where teams of 5 were made and they were allowed to heckle each other so that they get the experience of how to perform under pressure.

Last night against Colombia it could be seen that the English players did study Cristiano Ronaldo’s technique as they took their own time and preferred a long run up with a powerful strike where the Colombian keeper Ospina couldn’t do much even after guessing the right side.

The whole interview of Dan Ashford can be read here:

England will now face Sweden in the quarterfinals of FIFA World Cup 2018. The match will be played on 7th July in the Samara Arena at 19:00 CET.

The match will be telecasted live all over the world via the official broadcasting partners of FIFA.

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