Football legend Diego Maradona has slammed FIFA officials, saying England's penalty shootout win over Colombia was a "monumental theft" for the South American side who were knocked out of the Football World Cup yesterday morning.
With the game entering the final minutes of stoppage time at 1-0 and Colombia struggling to break down a resilient England defence, it looked as if the "Three Lions" had done enough to book their place in the last eight of the competition.
The last time they met at the World Cup was in 1998, with England winning 2-0, while the Three Lions also won their most recently encounter when victorious 3-2 in a friendly in the U.S. back in 2005. Eric Dier converted the game-winning kick to advance.
"It was a hard situation to be in, one that we have overcome and we can look back on and be very proud of".
Maradona who is working as Federation Internationale de Football Association ambassador in Russia was furious with the way American referee Mark Geiger handled the game between England and Colombia.
"I'd rather not go into some of the stuff because I'll get into trouble".
"For me, it was one of those games that was so unusual", he said.
It sounds easy when written down, and given the way many have talked about England's chances over the past couple of weeks you would be forgiven for believing they are a shoo-in to emerge from the bottom half of the draw to make the final in Moscow on Sunday week. England, however, had booked their knockout stage spot after two victories in their first two group matches, resting several players in their final group loss to Belgium.
"Like the ambassador, we're looking forward to a good game tonight against a great footballing nation", the spokesperson added. A man like [Geiger] should not be put in charge of a game of that magnitude.
"It'll be the most hard game they'll have played so far, they can bet on that".
Struggling at times to keep control of the game, Geiger dished out six yellow cards to Colombian players. "I've never really been in a situation like that before but felt I had to score after missing the header at the end so I'm just thankful I scored", he said.
In extra-time, the referee halted play following an England throw-in as the intended recipient Harry Maguire was distracted by another ball that would have entered the pitch had the assistant not prevented it from doing so.
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