Stones: Colombia the dirtiest team I’ve played against

Having started for England in their World Cup last 16 win over Colombia, centre-back John Stones has claimed that Los Cafeteros are the “dirtiest” team he’s played.

In a hot-tempered encounter which saw a total of 36 fouls, 23 of which were awarded against Colombia, England beat Jose Pekerman’s side in a penalty shootout to book their quarter-final spot.

There were a number of flashpoints during the game. Wilmar Barrios was yellow-carded for an apparent headbutt on Jordan Henderson, while Colombia appeared to scuff the penalty spot after Harry Kane was awarded a spot-kick.

“The game was so strange. Probably the dirtiest team I have ever come up against,” Manchester City defender Stones told Sky Sports.

“In the respect of when we won a penalty — they were surrounding the referee, even pushing the referee. The headbutt, I’m sure you’ve all seen. Scuffing the penalty spot. A lot of off the ball stuff that I’m sure you have not heard about.”

Stones praised England for keeping their cool and surviving the test despite everything Colombia threw at them.

“On our behalf, it showed massive character to keep a cool head and not get sucked into their game,” he said. “When you play a team that want to fight and disturb your momentum, you can sometimes get dragged into it. That’s what they want.”

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said after the game that he was unhappy with England’s behaviour, accusing them of diving. However, if Stones’s words are anything to go by, the animosity is mutual.