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Harry Kane leads from the front again as England prevail on penalties

By July 3, 2018No Comments

Captain Harry Kane led from the front as Gareth Southgate’s England booked their place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup after beating Colombia in a penalty shoot-out.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the impact of the Three Lions skipper.


Despite attempts to market him as the type of figurehead Shakespeare had in mind at Agincourt, this Harry is not a shouter but that does not mean he is not a natural leader. His battle with the imposing Yerry Mina set the tone for the first half but when Colombia were losing their heads, and some England players looked like they may boil over too, it was Kane who came in with the calming word. He tired towards the end but his penalty in the shoot-out said it all. He was first up to set the tone, slotted it, one fist pump and walked back to his teammates.

Hold-up play

Harry Kane leads from the front again as England prevail on penalties PLZ Soccer
Kane holds off Colombia’s Jefferson Lerma and Davinson Sanchez (Tim Goode/PA)

Was magnificent for 90 minutes but dropped away as Kane tired badly in extra time. Jamie Vardy’s introduction did change his role slightly, as he dropped deeper, but this was exacerbated by Kane looking cooked. Prior to that, though, he was strong and sure-footed. And was not just his back-to-goal play that impressed but his ability to carry the ball and draw fouls, too. This was hugely important for England when Colombia started to press in the last 15 minutes. It so nearly worked but the fact it did not did not matter in the end.


Harry Kane leads from the front again as England prevail on penalties PLZ Soccer
Kane, left, and Wilmar Barrios battle for the ball (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The most improved aspect of Kane’s play, he is developing into a superb distributor of the ball. There were two drilled passes to spread the play in the first half that really caught the eye and he has become adept at knitting the play together with short- and medium-distance one-touch passes, too. There were times in the second half when he was England’s best play-maker and most likely goal-scorer. A combination that very few in the game can pull off.

Goal threat

How do six goals sound? He did not get many clear sights at goal in this game – there was an early header on the stretch and a right-foot effort from outside the box – but he took the two that counted. Having been manhandled at every set-piece, you felt it was only a matter of time before he would get a big decision. It came 10 minutes into the second half but he was then forced to wait what seemed like an age while Colombia protested the decision. Having gone top left-hand corner with his two penalties against Panama he slotted this one down the middle. Coolness personified. And then, as mentioned already, he was obviously going to take England’s first in the shoot-out. David Ospina got nowhere near it.