Legends blow up over ugly act
THIS morning's World Cup match between England and Colombia descended into all-out chaos during the second half, but the bitterness truly started five minutes before halftime.
England football legends were gobsmacked when Colombian star Wilmar Barrios somehow stayed on the field despite deliberately headbutting England midfielder Jordan Henderson.
The ugly incident, which happened as the pair lined up inside Colombia's penalty box ahead of a free kick, earned Barrios a yellow card - but many viewers thought it should have been red.
As headbutts go, it was fairly soft, and certainly didn't compare to the infamous act that got French legend Zinedine Zidane sent off in the 2006 World Cup final.
Henderson exaggerated the incident as well, going down clutching his forehead even though the contact had been on his chin.
Still, former England internationals Danny Murphy and Gary Lineker couldn't believe Barrios survived despite making deliberate contact with Henderson's head.
"It has to be a penalty and a red card. That is ridiculous," Murphy told the BBC. "What is the point having VAR if someone headbutts someone in the face and doesn't get sent off? You can't headbutt someone and not get a red card. That is ludicrous."
The game only got worse after halftime, as Colombia committed a spate of ugly fouls and both teams persistently exaggerated contact to win free kicks.
It culminated in the referee's contentious decision to award England a penalty after Carlos Sanchez wrestled with Harry Kane during a corner kick.
Sanchez was yellow carded and the Colombians hounded the referee, blasting him for the decision, before Kane stepped up to score the goal from the penalty spot.
England had complained about Kane being brought down off the ball several times already during the World Cup, and finally got their reward.
But the bitter scenes that erupted after the whistleblower called the foul were a black eye for football.
Both teams clashed as they exchanged angry words while the official was at the centre of it all. England midfielder Jordan Henderson was also yellow carded.
There were also numerous reports of Colombian players performing an unsportsmanlike act by tampering with the penalty spot.
"One or two of the Colombian players look like they are roughing up the penalty spot with their boots," alleged former England captain Terry Butcher.
With 20 minutes to go the foulfest finally turned into a game of football, as Colombia came out of its shell and pushed for an equaliser.
In the 93rd minute, Yerry Mina got his head on the end of the cross and Kieran Trippier, who was guarding the far post, could only head the ball into the roof of the net as it came his way, to make it 1-1 and send the match into extra time.
England looked to have blown it, but eventually scraped through to the quarterfinals in a penalty shootout.