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06th Jul 2018

John Stones says Colombia are the dirtiest team he’s ever played against

It resembled a war more than a football match

Reuben Pinder

It was an attritional game

The dust from the war between England and Colombia on Tuesday night refuses to settle, as players swipe at each other, Diego Maradona chimes in and fans sign petitions. It’s all a bit mad.

England eventually went through on penalties after a two hour presentation on the dark arts from Colombia, and Gareth Southgate’s players managed to keep cool heads right until the final penalty.

John Stones, who was flawless throughout, has since come out and called out Colombia for their physical and verbal intimidation.

“They were probably the dirtiest team I’ve ever come up against, in respect of when we won the penalty, surrounding the referee, pushing the referee,” Stones said.

“The head-butt you’ve all seen, scuffing the penalty spot, a lot of off-the-ball things you probably haven’t heard about … all the sort of things that you don’t really hear in a football match. We showed massive character to keep cool heads and not get sucked into their game,” he added.

“When you play against a team who want to fight, disturb your momentum, you can sometimes get dragged into it. We stuck to our plan, kept playing our own football. You can see the clips from the game. Some things I hadn’t even seen: the incident with Raheem Sterling and one of their staff … I’ve never seen a game like this before and how they behaved. I thought there could have been several red cards.

“If the referee sees the headbutt it’s a totally different game. But the best thing for us was to beat them at football. The biggest thing that’ll hurt them is going back on the plane home. We’re into the next round.”

England will face Sweden on Saturday afternoon in the quarter-final. The winner will play either Croatia or Russia in the semi-final.