MOSCOW (Reuters) - England fans went on an emotional roller coaster ride on Tuesday in Moscow when their team prevailed over Colombia in nerve-jangling penalty kicks after conceding a goal in stoppage time.
Greatly outnumbered by the Colombian counterparts at Moscow’s Spartak Stadium, England fans occupied only a fraction of seats in the 45,000-seat venue.
But despite being relatively small in number, England fans could be heard.
After failing into despair after a Colombia goal in stoppage time forced the match into the additional 30 minutes, they erupted into boisterous clamour when midfielder Eric Dier buried a last penalty kick after two missed attempts by Colombia.
“It was heartbreaking for it to go to extra time the way it did, you just thought ‘here we go again,’” said 28-year-old Londoner Matthew Jordan at the Spartak stadium.
“For once Lady Luck shined on us! Roll on Sweden!” he added, referring to England’s opponent in the quarter-finals in Samara on Saturday.
There were several standout players for the England fans in Moscow, praising Harry Kane for his composure on the penalty he smoothly executed early in the second half and Jordan Pickford for denying Colombia’s Carlos Bacca.
“England looked convincing for the last 30 minutes of the game and I feel Colombia were undeserving of their goal,” said Jack Salisbury, a 23-year-old England fan who lives in Moscow.
“The penalty shootout was pretty unnerving. A lot of credit needs to go to Jordan Pickford. He stood tall for the penalty he saved.”
For some fans the penalty kicks were just too stressful.
“I literally didn’t watch any of the penalties,” said Arsenal fan Max Doyle. “I had my shirt over my face for every single penalty, I couldn’t watch it.”
“Never again. Never make me go through that ever again, that was one of the most painful experiences in my life,” said Tim Coleman, another fan.
England fans on the pedestrian streets of central Moscow were few and far between after their country’s major win.
“We’re deep in the bars,” Lloyd Clark from London said of the lack of England fans on the streets.
“We’re the favourites, we’re going to beat Sweden.”
England also had a quieter support base among some soccer fans from abroad who have long waited for the team to shine on the international stage.
“I was cheering for England because they were trying really hard,” said Amin Sultanov from Kazakhstan as he sipped beer on a bench.
“They invented the sport, they should win.”
Reporting by Jack Stubbs and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Greg Stutchbury