World Cup diary, part three: My hands were shaking during England’s dramatic shootout victory
In part three of his World Cup diary our Norwich City photographer Paul Chesterton re-lives what it was like to witness England’s shootout win in Russia
I don’t mind admitting that my hands were shaking as I took photos of England’s penalty shootout win over Colombia out here in Russia.
When Jordan Henderson’s penalty was saved I thought it was all over, but then when they hit the bar I was shaking, just from the adrenaline of the moment. I remained professional of course but it was England winning a shootout, it was amazing.
The Colombians outnumbered the English by about 10 to one in the stadium, there was about 1,600 England fans, so it felt like we were in Colombia’s back yard.
Harry Kane ran straight towards us after scoring his penalty but then it all went downhill from there. I’m not sure how Colombia finished the game with 11 men on the pitch with all those fouls, constantly trying to wind up the England players.
I got a cracking photo of Jordan Pickford’s late save but then it was a huge noise when the Colombians equalised and 30 minutes later it was into the shootout, which was the other end from me so I had to move up and sat halfway between the halfway line and penalty box.
Then Pickford was the hero to tee up Eric Dier for the winning penalty and then it was just pandemonium, a big bundle of players and if I’m honest, I was in bits, I didn’t know where to look – I’m an England fan at the end of the day – but I managed to keep my cool for what I needed to do.
I’m out here working with my son, Dan, and I actually took him to the Euro 96 game when we beat Spain on penalties. He was only six, so he doesn’t remember much about it, but we’ve been present at both of England’s shootout wins in tournaments – so as long as we’re out here, England are fine!
Since my last diary entry, we had a day off in Kaliningrad after England’s 1-0 loss to Belgium which saw them finish second in the group, then we were on an early flight the next day to St Petersburg and headed straight up to Repino. We spent the day doing some England training and recuperating a bit in the media centre and ended up watching France beat Argentina 4-3 there. It was a great game but we kept nodding off and then waking up every time there was a goal.
We went into town to watch Uruguay beat Portugal 2-1 and found a German bar – good practice for a week or so’s time with Norwich’s pre-season tour – enjoyed a few beers while waiting for a 12.30am train to Moscow.
That was a nine-hour journey but we got a whole compartment to ourselves, to get us to the Luzhniky Stadium for Russia holding Spain to a 1-1 draw and Igor Akinfeev making the save in the shootout to put the hosts through – which was awesome, I’ve never heard noise like it.
In the evening we ended up watching the second half of Croatia beating Denmark on penalties in a bar with a guy from Chile. He’d flown over from America and paid $400 to watch France draw 0-0 with Denmark, not exactly a World Cup classic.
The next night we watched Belgium beat Japan 3-2 in the same bar, owned by an Azerbaijani guy, with the Chilean guy in there again – so it was very multicultural, drinking Georgian wine, a couple of local vodkas, it was nice to get a chance to relax.
Then it was on to the England game at the Sparktak Stadium, and we were there at 9.30am to make sure we were allocated a good position, for a 9pm game. Once we were sorted we got the superb metro into Moscow for a big of sightseeing in Red Square.
After the England game on Tuesday we had a 16-hour train to Samara and from there it was over to Kazan with a long old taxi journey of between six and eight hours for last night’s quarter-final between Brazil and Belgium.
So, hopefully, by the time you’re reading this we’ll have got some kip in the taxi home overnight and will manage to make it to the Samara Arena for 10am to make sure we’ve got a good seat for England’s game against Sweden. Come on England!