Win over Colombia is first time England have won a shoot-out at a World Cup – and comes after six failures in seven attempts at major tournaments before Russia.
England held their nerve against Colombia to win their first ever penalty shoot-out in a World Cup and reach the quarter-finals in dramatic fashion on Tuesday.
Eric Dier scored the decisive spot-kick to win the shootout 4-3 and send Gareth Southgate's young team through to a meeting with Sweden, who earlier beat Switzerland.
A bad-tempered match at Moscow's Spartak Stadium that featured eight yellow cards – six for Colombian players – ended 1-1 after 30 tense minutes of extra-time, meaning the game had to be decided by penalties.
The South American side, without injured forward James Rodríguez, appeared on the edge of reaching their second consecutive World Cup quarter-final when Jordan Henderson's effort was saved by Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina, keeping the score at 3-2.
But Mateus Uribe then rattled the crossbar and after Kieran Trippier levelled at 3-3, England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saved from Carlos Bacca, stretching out his left arm to stop the ball as he dived to his right.
That gave England the advantage and Tottenham Hotspur's Dier made no mistake, beating the despairing dive of Arsenal goalkeeper Ospina before he was mobbed by his teammates.
It is the first time England have won a shootout at a World Cup – and comes after six failures in seven attempts at major tournaments before Russia.
Minutes from victory
Southgate's team were minutes away from victory during normal time but Yerry Mina rose to head home an equaliser from a corner and cancel out captain Harry Kane's 57th-minute penalty.
The late, late goal deflated England and the momentum shifted visibly towards the South Americans, who started extra-time with a spring in their step.
"To get knocked down at the end like we did with that goal in added time, you know, it's difficult to come back from that," said Dier.
"But we did. We were ready for that. We knew what we had to do, we stayed calm, we stuck to our plan, we never panicked all the way through extra time. We knew that if it has to go to penalties, it has to go to penalties. We were ready for that."
'Gives us belief'
England, for so long under-achievers on the international stage, are the only former winners left in the bottom half of the draw and, with Sweden up next, will fancy their chances of reaching the semi-finals for just the third time in their history.
Pickford is the first England goalkeeper to save a penalty in a shoot-out at a major tournament since David Seaman at the 1998 World Cup against Argentina.
"It's a great night to win a penalty shoot-out," he said. "Ideally we don't want to be going to a penalty shootout but we are delighted for the fans and the whole country. It gives us belief to go into the Sweden game."
Kane's penalty in the first half made him the tournament's top scorer with six goals, two clear of Belgium's Romelu Lukaku.
With Spain already ejected, England face Sweden in Samara on Saturday, with Russia and Croatia potential semi-final opponents.
Brazil and France lurk in the top half of the draw but Lionel Messi's Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal are out.
Even Prince William got caught up in the emotion, tweeting: "I couldn’t be prouder of @England - a victory in a penalty shoot-out! You have well and truly earned your place in the final eight of the #worldcup."
Forsberg strikes for Sweden
In the early game on Tuesday, RB Leipzig striker Emil Forsberg's deflected 66th-minute shot took Sweden through to their first World Cup quarter-final since 1994, with the Swiss unable to respond in Saint Petersburg.
Suspensions deprived Switzerland of key defender Fabian Schaer and captain Stephan Lichtsteiner, but they will be disappointed by their limp exit.
Sweden coach Janne Andersson said his side were not finished yet.
"We're not satisfied with this," he said. "We want to win the next match as well. If you start to lower the bar or your ambition that's not going to be satisfying. Hopefully in the future I will look back on this with pride but for now, I focus on the next match on Saturday."
Away from the drama in Russia, the German Football Association (DFB) confirmed that coach Joachim Löw will remain in his job despite the World Cup holders' shock elimination in the group phase.
"I am very grateful for the confidence that the DFB has again shown in me and I feel a lot of support and encouragement despite the justified criticism of our elimination," said Löw, who has been in charge for 12 years.
A look back at England's failures in World Cup shoot-outs
England arrived at the 1990 World Cup in Italy not expected to do particularly well. But following lacklustre form in the group stage, England beat Belgium in the round of 16 and then saw off Cameroon in the quarter-finals to set up an encounter against long-time rivals West Germany. England outplayed the West Germans for large stretches of the match, but fell behind. England equalised with 10 minutes to go and the match ended at 1-1. It went to a shoot-out, England's first-ever. All seemed to be going well as England converted its first three spot-kicks but so did the Germans. Stuart Pearce, a regular penalty taker for his club Nottingham Forest, had his effort saved. Chris Waddle then struck his effort way over the bar and England crashed out.
At the 1998 World Cup in France, England again started slowly, ending up second in the group behind Romania. That meant it would meet Argentina in the round of 16 in Saint-Etienne. England scored twice in the first half, but the Albiceleste eventually hit back with two of their own. England went down to 10 men after David Beckham was sent off for kicking out at Argentina captain Diego Simeone. The match ended 2-2. Argentina won the ensuing penalty shoot-out, this time with Paul Ince and David Batty missing. Unlike 1990, the defeat was not met with sympathy. Beckham became public enemy number one and faced months of derision in the media and around English grounds. But his perseverance saw him win over his critics and by the 2002 World Cup he was captain. He even scored the penalty in normal time that defeated Argentina in that tournament.
A sending off against Portugal was arguably at the root of England's exit from the World Cup this time around. It wasn't Beckham, though the captain did not finish the quarter-final match against Portugal, after being substituted early on in the second half because of injury. Striker Wayne Rooney was sent off in the 62nd minute after he stamped on Ricardo Carvalho. The England side, widely labelled as a "golden generation," battled on and the game ended 0-0 and with a shoot-out. The result would be the same as when the two had to be separated by spot kicks in a quarter-final match at the 2004 European Championship in Portugal. This was England's worst performance in a World Cup shoot-out, with Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher all missing and Cristiano Ronaldo scoring the winner.