After four days of knockout action, we now know our ‘Epic Eight’ who move a step closer towards World Cup glory. 

With France, Uruguay, Russia, Croatia, Brazil and Belgium all through, two of Sweden/Switzerland/England/Colombia would join them as the Quarter Final lineup was confirmed. 

 

Sweden vs Switzerland

World Cup - Round of 16 - Sweden vs Switzerland

Emil Forsberg’s second half strike sent Sweden through to the Quarter Finals. (Reuters)

Emil Forsberg’s deflected strike sent Sweden through to Quarter Finals after seeing off Switzerland 1-0. 

A scrappy first half saw both teams have chances to take the lead but the closest effort came from Ricardo Rodriguez in stoppage time, seeing his cross punched clear by Robin Olsen to safety. 

It was more of same after the break till Forsberg found ball on edge of area and took a shot, only for it to deflect in off the shin of Manuel Akanji. 

Switzerland then pushed for an equaliser to take this into extra time but Sweden ended any hopes in the 94th minute after Jonas Olsson was fouled by Michael Lang. 

Initially thought to be a penalty, Referee, Damir Skomina consulted VAR before changing his decision to a free kick on edge of penalty area. 

In end, it didn’t matter as Sweden’s delivery was cleared to wrap up the match with a single goal victory. 

With that result, Sweden would face the winner of England’s meeting with Colombia. 

 

England vs Colombia

World Cup - Round of 16 - Colombia vs England

Jordan Pickford was one of England’s heroes as he set up Eric Dier to deliver England’s first World Cup penalty shootout win. (Reuters)

Eric Dier became England’s hero after firing the Three Lions into the last eight via a 4-3 win on penalties, following a 1-1 draw.

Having wasted two first-half chances including a 16th minute header, Harry Kane put England in front early in second half from penalty spot, after being wrestled to ground by Carlos Sanchez during a free kick.  

Colombia then huffed and puffed before Juan Cuarado fired a Carlos Bacca pass over in 81st minute on a counter attack. 

They however got their reward in injury time when Yerry Mina claimed his third headed goal of tournament from a late corner to send it to extra time. 

Colombia started extra time the stronger with Radamel Falcao heading wide from a Luis Muriel cross down the left. 

England however had a golden chance to avoid another penalty shootout when sub, Danny Rose played a 1-2-3 with Jesse Lingard and Jordan Henderson as he ran into box but poked it across face of goal.

In end, it went out for a goal kick and therefore England aimed to end 22 year penalty heartbreak, having last won a shootout against Spain in Euro 1996. 

Goals from Falcao, Kane, Cuarado, Marcus Rashford and Muriel put Colombia 3-2 up as Henderson prepared to take his shot. 

Colombia Goalkeeper, David Ospina dived correctly to his right to deny the Liverpool midfielder the chance to make it 3-3. 

Mateus Uribe then had a chance to give the South-Americans match point but found the bar. 

That miss gave England renewed hope and Kieran Trippier delivered a blast into top left to put the pressure onto Bacca for Colombia, whose shot was saved by Jordan Pickford as he aimed to go down middle. 

Eric Dier therefore knew that if he scored, he would send England roaring into the Quarter Finals, and so rifled his shot into bottom left to spark wild celebrations. 

This victory marks England’s first ever World Cup penalty shootout win after three previous attempts all ended in defeat. 

Gareth Southgate must now prepare his squad for the Quarter Final against on Sweden on Saturday. Win and they will be assured of at least fourth place no matter what happens in Semi Finals. 

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