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John Stones: Colombia "dirtiest team" I have ever faced

Stones: Colombia
© Reuters
John Stones is delighted to have sent Colombia packing from the World Cup, describing England's last-16 opponents as the "dirtiest team" that he has ever faced.

England centre-back John Stones has called Colombia "the dirtiest team" that he has ever faced, making his side's World Cup last-16 victory even sweeter.

The Three Lions had to contend with the South American outfit's physical approach in Tuesday evening's clash, which ended in a penalty-shootout win following a 1-1 draw.

Colombia had six players booked across the 120 minutes for a mixture of tough tackling and mental provocation, while Raheem Sterling was also targeted by Los Cafeteros's backroom staff at half time.

Stones is delighted to have picked up the victory in Moscow, claiming that Wilmar Barrios's headbutt on Jordan Henderson was just the tip of the iceberg.

"The best thing for us was to beat them at football, that will hurt them most," he told reporters at Thursday's press conference. "They're back on the plane going home and we're in the next round.

"The game was so strange. It was the dirtiest team I've ever come up against, in the respect of when we won a penalty, surrounding the referee, pushing the referee, the headbutt you've all seen, scuffing the penalty spot and a lot of off the ball stuff I'm sure you've not heard about.

"All the sort of things you don't really hear in a football match. On our behalf it showed massive character to keep a cool head and not get dragged into their game.

"We stuck to our plan and kept playing our way of football and that's a great quality to have. It was a difficult situation but one we've overcome and can be proud of."

Next up for England is a quarter-final against Sweden in Samara on Saturday afternoon, with Russia or Croatia potentially awaiting in the final four.


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England's Raheem Sterling in action with Colombia's Yerry Mina on July 3, 2018
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