So after beating the US (last match) 3-1 in the second round we had reached the Quarter Finals. This was the target that Greg Clarke set me and Steve. I can say that we’ve felt comfortable at this level. But the draw saw us put against South American opposition, Uruguay.
The known attacking threats would come from Cavani and Suarez. Yet their defensive discipline would come from the well oiled machines from Atletico Madrid in Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez. So we knew we were going to be up against it in this round. Mind you looking at the draw there were no easy games left at this point in the competition.
Brazil would beat Chile 4;3. Portugal would beat Italy 2;0 and group H’s runner up (Spain) would beat Belgium 1;0.
Our Match against Uruguay saw us play at Spartak Moscow in Moscow. The weather conditions were the same as the US match. Wet and breezy. Our one concern was this time around we would be without star midfielder Dele Alli, who was suspended after collecting a couple of yellow cards in the previous rounds.
Our line up needed to change yet again. We drafted in Dier to play alongside Maguire in the heart of our defence. We put Wilshere in as Libero to see if he could grab the game by the scruff of it’s neck. We reinstalled Rose and Walker at Wingback and Henderson came back in to the side to replace the suspended Alli.
The match was a slow starter with Uruguay getting the first clear chance of the match after 20 minutes. A well struck cross from Cavani found a salmon like Suarez at the back post. Fortunately for us Pickford was alert and saved the header.
We eventually found a clear sight on goal as the clock struck 38 minutes. After a series of quick passes, Winks found an unmarked Kyle Walker in space to hit a shot at goal from 25 yards. The shot showed intent but lacked accuracy.
The second half saw us start to make more of an impression on the South Americans. The 57th minute saw Maguire head a floated freekick from Lingard into the hands of the Uruguayan goalkeeper.
Then after a period of end to end attacks without any product, on the 89th minute the Uruguayans wasted a corner that was hit straight at Jordan Henderson’s big head. Fortunately for us he controlled it and cleared the ball to a very determined Harry Kane. Kane took it upon himself to dribble down the right wing and onwards cutting in to the oppositions box before scuffing his tired looking shot wide. (At this point I thought we were going to face extra time and then penalties).
Deep in stoppage time (93rd minute of 94). We held the ball in the Uruguayan half. Danny Rose placed a dinky little throw in to the feet of Jesse Lingard. Who passed back to Rose. Rose then drilled a cross to the edge of the box which reached an enthusiastic Kyle Walker. Walker controlled the ball then drilled the ball into the back of the net. The move was finished off so quickly Muslera didn’t even move to save the ball.
(Hang on) GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLL!!!!!!!! (About Bloody Time!)
We scored right at the dying embers of the match. When the Uruguayans and the media had started to make previsions for extra time. What a time to score. Especially when we had made more of the chances despite the very even footing of the match.
We won! 1-0 And are through to the Semi Finals. The first time we (England) have reached this point in a competition since 1996. (EURO ’96) And the first time we have reached the semi final of the World Cup since Bobby Robson’s 1990 side.