Harry Maguire insists England showed they are “fearless” as they beat Colombia on penalties in Moscow to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.
The Three Lions looked to be heading through in normal time following Harry Kane’s penalty, only for Yerry Mina to equalise in stoppage time.
The tie was eventually settled from the spot, England winning their first-ever World Cup penalty shoot-out 4-3.
Next up for Gareth Southgate’s side is a last-eight clash with Sweden in Samara with Maguire insisting the squad – which was the most inexperienced of all 32 nations at the start of the tournament in terms of international caps – is mentally strong enough to cope with any challenge.
“We have shown against Colombia that we are hungry, we are fearless. The boys showed great character,” the Leicester defender told the London Evening Standard.
“There have been a lot of questions about us about how we are a young team and that we don’t have much experience.”
Colombia collected six yellow cards on the night and were roundly criticised for their heavy-handed tactics.
But to Maguire, coping with such issues is just further proof that the current team can do what needs to be done – even in trying circumstances.
“There were some things going on out there that I have never seen before. It was a bit crazy at times,” he added.
“We conceded in the 93rd minute when we were fully in control and were really comfortable – the only way they were going to score was from a set play.
“It was a great ball, a great header and something we will have to look at and try and improve on. But to come back and still win the game is really promising.”