Columbia v England (England won 4-3 on penalties) It may be short-lived or maybe not but a fantastic result, and as a coach, I find myself reflecting on what may have taken place over the last few months in that game.  As the penalties were happening, I was in my hotel room at Heathrow preparing for an in-house coaching skills day for managers. The tension I felt, along with the stress, you would have thought I was an expecting father pacing around the room.

As this was happening, I was continuing to text my husband and son talking about the mental strength required and the amount of practise that would have taken place in the run-up to that situation. That game was a battle with the brain, not the body.

Have you ever really thought what that moment would feel like? I said to my husband via text, that match would be like gold dust with the amount of learning that took place. The experience gained in that game would have been phenomenal and what the team would have taken from it would be far better than a 1-0 win. This may be something England may have lacked previously; the experience at or the correct mental coach needed to focus on the little specifics. You need that adversity to create a belief, and in this case, the consequence was positive. The power of positivity and mental strength cannot be underestimated.

Just imagine what that situation felt like and how many times the players would have visualised the penalty shootout. The walk up to the ball, that walk! What goes through your head? Any sign of self-doubt would have taken some capacity away and started to eat at the confidence. The stress, being able to focus and I mean focus. Which part of the foot would make contact with the ball, where it would go in the net, what face they would have been focused on in the crowd and being able to block out the noise. The confidence and courage required for that situation are tremendous, and you can guarantee the players would have been visualising all of that in their rooms and more, over and over again.

Just think how the players will reflect on that situation, having to allow limited distractions, the mental readiness and strength required, total commitment, full focus and those positive images. You can apply all of these areas when reflecting and I for sure would guess there will be plenty of this happening.

So shortlived it may be, but the learning out of that game for those boys cannot be underestimated or undervalued. The power of coaching! Undoubtedly some great coaching is going on there to create that self-belief.

Tonight England play Croatia in the semi-final after beating Sweden 2-0.  The belief and the coaching continues.

Claire Moody is our head coach at Target Training and you can read more about her here.  She delivers training on coaching for managers courses, and you can read more about these courses here and see dates here.