I wrote an article a little while back about ‘belief’ in relation to our players. There can be no more proof of this belief than when Kane (for the second time), Trippier and Dier walked calmly up to take their turn in the penalty shoot-out against Columbia.
I don’t know who decides who will take the penalties in this situation but I do know that the players have to be willing to take them. It’s the World Cup. The whole world is watching. The pressure must be immense. Some players will take a step back, away from the firing line. Some will step forward, have faith in their ability, and trust in their destiny. Three Spurs boys did not step back! England had never won a similar contest in World Cup history. The people of England never forget and, when it comes to football, do not have a forgiving nature. Score and be a hero; fail and be media bait and scorned by a nation. It’s the way football works. Crazy!
All three of our players looked just about as worried as they would be going for a stroll in the local park as each approached the penalty spot. Looks, of course, are deceptive, but to their credit, they controlled whatever emotions were going on inside their heads and focused on the job in hand … just as they have been trained to do. There will be times in the future when things don’t go their way but that will never destroy the confidence and belief each have in themselves and in each other …. the confidence and belief reinforced from this one game.
There were six players, all borrowed from The Lane, on the park last night. Kane was magnificent, as was Trippier. Sanchez, who would have looked nicer in an England shirt, let neither himself, nor his team down. Dele had a quiet game and failed to make an impact …. did he return from injury too early? Dier was heading toward an average performance …. until destiny called. Rose entered the arena in the second half and did all he had to do.
Somewhere in the media I read a recent comment that there are too many Spurs players in the current England team. After last night I think it would be fairer to say that there is not enough. Whatever way you look at it, it’s a proud day to be an England supporter and an even prouder day to be a Spurs supporter.
England face Sweden in the Quarter-final. Personally. I believe Sweden is the easiest opposition left and should prove no barrier to England taking one of the semi-final berths. Kane must fancy his chances of increasing his goal tally against them and, if he does, he will be well on his way to the Golden Boot. After this competition Harry may not just be ‘one of our own’ …. he may go national!