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Eric Dier: Shootout win against Colombia broke down mental barriers for England

Eric Dier hit the winning penalty as England knocked Colombia out of the 2018 World Cup. (Tim Goode/PA)
Eric Dier hit the winning penalty as England knocked Colombia out of the 2018 World Cup. (Tim Goode/PA)

Eric Dier insists England are ready for a World Cup shootout in Qatar after they broke down “mental barriers” by beating Colombia on penalties four years ago.

The win at the last 16 stage in Russia was England’s first in a World Cup at their fourth attempt.

They have also only ever won one shootout at a European Championship – against Spain at Euro 96 – including losing last year’s final to Italy at Wembley.

England were also successful in their Nations League third-placed play-off against Switzerland in 2019.

Jordan Pickford saved Carlos Bacca's penalty to set-up England's shoot-out success.
Jordan Pickford saved Carlos Bacca’s penalty to set-up England’s shoot-out success. (Aaron Chown/PA)

But the Colombia victory, in which Dier scored the decisive effort after goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had saved superbly from Carlos Bacca, has been hailed as a watershed moment by the Tottenham defender.

“There are ifs, buts and maybes aren’t there,” he said.

“I feel like that World Cup, it’s difficult for me to say because I was involved, but I felt in that game we broke down a lot of mental barriers and stereotypes that exist in English football surrounding things like knockout games and penalty shootouts and playing against that type of opposition as well.

“I think that game I remember it felt at the time like it was a weight off our shoulders and I think you saw that in the next game against Sweden (in the quarter-final).

“No-one was talking about us winning it and that game was a moment in which we all felt like we had got over a few hurdles and now we were free to just play and some of the weight of history had been removed from our backs.”

Dier has not started a game at the World Cup so far but, with England coming up against Senegal at Al Bayt Stadium in the last 16 on Sunday night, he would have no qualms stepping up if the tie went all the way to penalties.

“I’m definitely not scared to take a penalty,” he said.

England were left dejected after losing the final of Euro 2020 in a penalty shoot-out against Italy.
England were left dejected after losing the final of Euro 2020 in a penalty shootout against Italy. (Nick Potts/PA)

“I’d be nervous in the moment but I’m not scared to do it. To be honest, my pen against Colombia when Pickford saved the penalty before, it made my penalty a lot easier.

“It was to win it, not to get knocked out, so it’s a completely different psychology. When he saved his, it was a lot easier for me. He helped me a lot.”

Someone else who has helped Dier when it comes to penalties is Spurs team-mate and England skipper Harry Kane.

The 29-year-old has missed just 10 of the 67 spot-kicks he has taken for club and country and will be on hand should England be awarded a penalty at any stage.

Kane and Dier play together for both club and country.
Kane and Dier play together for both club and country. (Nick Potts/PA)

“I’ve spoken to him in the past about penalties and spoken to him a lot because obviously I have breakfast with him every day of my life, pretty much,” added Dier, who remained tight-lipped on what the England captain has for breakfast, only for Kane to reveal he eats omelette, avocado and toast.

“I’ve spoken to him about penalties many times but he doesn’t preach to anyone about it. Everyone is different, everyone’s process is different, no one is right or wrong.

“We’re all different as individuals. Some players go through a routine that starts two days before a game to get ready for a game and other players just turn up on the day.

“Everyone’s different. Everyone prepares in their own way, as long as it’s the right thing for their mindset.”