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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 15 October 2018

John Stones: Colombia are dirtiest side I've ever played against

England defender not happy with South American side's tactics during their World Cup clash on Tuesday

John Stones says he has taken real joy from England beating Colombia. Dan Mullan / Getty Images
John Stones says he has taken real joy from England beating Colombia. Dan Mullan / Getty Images

England defender John Stones called Colombia "the dirtiest team I've ever played against".

England line up for a World Cup quarter-final against Sweden on Saturday after beating a physical Colombia in a penalty shoot-out at Moscow's Spartak Stadium on Tuesday night.

Stones said: "The best thing for us was to beat them at football, that will hurt them most. They're back on the plane going home and we're in the next round"

The Manchester City defender Stones was critical of Colombia's physical and mental provocation following England's second-round penalty shoot-out victory on Tuesday.

Wilmar Barrios escaped with just a yellow card after headbutting Jordan Henderson while Colombia surrounded referee Mark Geiger after he awarded a penalty following Carlos Sanchez's foul on Harry Kane and it took almost four minutes for the England captain to be allowed to convert the spot-kick.

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Stones said: "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 spot 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."

England won 4-3 on penalties in Moscow after a 1-1 draw - with Yerry Mina cancelling out Kane's penalty with an injury-time equaliser.

But Stones refused to go into detail at what really happened off the ball and away from the cameras against Colombia.

"I'd rather not, it would get me in a bit of trouble. I've never seen a game like that before and how they behaved," he told a press conference. I thought there could have been several red cards - mainly off the ball stuff.

"If the referee sees the headbutt it's a totally different game, I don't want to really say but it was things we've never experienced before and it was so surprising to come across.

"The best thing for us was to beat them at football, that is the biggest thing which will hurt them.

"We stuck to our gameplan and to beat them at football, that will hurt more than us getting into a scrap."