Over the next month, I'll be covering the World Cup for Tribalfootball. And along the way, I'd like to share with you some of my experiences and keep you up to date with all the action.
As my one of my peers, who refuses to watch penalty shootouts, said at Sunday's clash between Russia and Spain: 'Football is about winning the game, not about who loses it'. And after watching two penalty shootouts live in the past three days, I tend to agree with him. Sitting one row behind the Colombian bench, I was able to see clearly their heartbroken reactions. It is a cruel way to win a football match. But as of yet, nobody has produced a suitable alternative. Crossbar challenge perhaps?
England fans would've agreed with such a sentiment before last night, having become far too familiar with spot-kick heartbreak. The win over Colombia was their first ever World Cup penalty shootout win. They'd lost three times previously - 1990, 1998 and 2006 - in the knockout stages. Last night could really prove to be a coming of age moment for this 'new England' team.
I'm saddened that we have said goodbye to another South American nation at the World Cup. Like Argentina and Peru before them, Colombia produced a raucous atmosphere. You wouldn't have been mistaken for thinking you were in Bogota not Moscow. I'm not sure if there were ticketing issues for the England fans, but their small contingent was easily drowned out by a sea of yellow. Tears flowed after the game, consolation hugs were shared, thousands cursing back to the train station. Just another reason why penalties suck.
Within four days, we've had Ronaldo and Messi eliminated, three penalty shootouts, and a dramatic come-from-behind victory. The round of 16 has been an exhilarating phase of the World Cup. With all this action in a condensed period, we now have a chance to take a breather, regather our marbles and reflect over the next two rest days. Tomorrow I'll be writing up a 'Game Day' photo diary showing you what it is like working at a match at the World Cup.