Penalty win a massive boost for England: Stones

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Samara (Russia), July 6 (IANS) England defender John Stones has said that the win against Colombia has given his team mates a massive confidence boost ahead of Saturday’s FIFA World Cup quarter-final against Sweden at the Samara Arena here.

Stones is the only England outfield player to have started every one of his side’s games in Russia and gave huge value to their triumph and the way it came about, ending England’s 22-year penalty shoot-out jinx, reports Xinhua news agency.

“It’s had a massive impact, knowing that we did the work for it in training and prepared ourselves for those situation… Once we had won, it kind of sank in.

“We all know how difficult penalty shoot-outs are, to come through as the winners is so satisfying for us,” he said on Thursday, explaining the success was down to hard work.

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Colombia complained about the performance of referee Mark Geiger during the game and some fans have even begun an online petition for the game to be replayed.

But Stones had little time for the complaints of the South Americans, saying they were “probably the dirtiest team I have ever come up against.”

He reminded those present how the Colombians had reacted when England were awarded a penalty for a foul on Harry Kane by saying “they were surrounding the referee, even pushing the referee. The headbutt (on Jordan Henderson) I’m sure you’ve all seen. Scuffing the penalty spot. A lot of off the ball stuff that I’m sure you have not heard about. All the sort of things you don’t really hear in a football match.”

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The defender believes England showed “massive character to keep a cool head. We stuck to our plan and kept playing our way of football. It’s a great sign for a team to have that sort of quality, to have tunnel vision of what we want out of the game plan.”

Stones also discussed England’s injury situation, telling the press that “everyone” with the exception of striker Jamie Vardy (who has a groin strain), was “out training” and adding that Vardy didn’t train as a “precautionary thing”.

–IANS

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