Eric Dier will forever go down in history as the man who secured England’s first ever penalty shootout win at a World Cup, but it’s been revealed that the Tottenham man wasn’t initially supposed to be stepping up at all.
According to Sky Sports reporter Rob Dorsett, Dier wasn’t meant to be taking England’s decisive fifth penalty against Colombia.
Initially, Jamie Vardy was designated to step up and take the crucial spot-kick, but deferred due to concerns over a groin stage he had aggravated during the latter stages of extra time.
(As also confirmed by Sky Sports beforehand, Vardy had a pain-killing injection in his groin ahead of the match and is now likely to miss the quarter-final against Sweden due to inflammation.)
So, not only was Dier’s penalty almost a frame-by-frame clone of Gareth Southgate’s shootout miss at Euro ’96, the circumstances under which he came to be taking the kick were very nearly identical too.
Lest we forget that Steve McManaman, Darren Anderton, Tony Adams, and Paul ‘The Guvnor’ Ince all wilted under the pressure, shirked responsibility to let a young, stout-hearted centre-half with four international caps to his name step up in a semi-final against Germany at Wembley.
Utter bastards, the lot of ’em.