England's penalty triumph breaks Wimbledon's World Cup resistance

There was only tennis on the big screen at Wimbledon on Tuesday -- football has not been shown at the All England Club since Euro 96. Philip Toscano/PA Images via Getty Images

LONDON -- As the FIFA World Cup ploughs on, upsets and drama aplenty, Wimbledon remains an isolated area purely for tennis devotees, an oasis of calm from other sporting hysteria.

Until the night set in Tuesday and England-Colombia went to penalties.

As the sprinklers attended to the courts, security guards remained on duty and all was quiet. But as the penalties played out, England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford did his part and Eric Dier finished it off with the winning spot kick, there was a wave of cheering from different corners of this famous tennis land.

There were no public screens showing it, it's not what Wimbledon is about. So instead the press room was one of the few places still with visual access to the outside world, alongside those working on the grounds, who were huddled around mobile phones. They were 40 seconds or so behind the televisions. Dier scored. Cheers from the press bar, whoops soon after from those around the mobile phones and spontaneous hugging ensued.

And then back to serene tennis normality. Shirts re-straightened, hats adjusted, attention back to the courts. It was about tennis, nothing more, once again.

During the day, there were no public address announcements confirming the championships would not be showing England's last-16 match with Colombia. It all plays into Wimbledon's tradition -- this place resists invasion and everything is done at a calm, walking pace. Anything else can, and has to, wait.

There weren't protests against that status quo, though, far from it. More a recognition of separation: supporters and tennis aficionados who flocked through the gates but also had one eye on England recognised their passions lived in two separate spheres.

During the day, there were signs of World Cup life. An hour before play started, two Swedish supporters sporting Zlatan Ibrahimovic shirts were asking for photographs with Germany's Maximilian Marterer. On the practice courts, Slovenia's Aljaž Bedene, who beat Britain's Cameron Norrie on Monday, wore a Harry Kane England shirt.

"I'm a big fan of his," said Bedene, who played for three years with British nationality. But the World Cup was not part of the day's narrative. Wimbledon was a football-free zone.

This is not a new policy. Wimbledon has not shown football since England hosted Euro 96. A full 22 years later, and with Gareth Southgate's England in the last 16 and national fervour reaching a level seldom seen in the last couple of decades, there was still no cause to budge. "We think people recognise they are at a tennis event," said Richard Lewis, chief executive of the All England Club. "It has always been an accepted policy. It has worked very well for us and never proved controversial."

On Monday, as Belgium played out their epic with Japan, supporters pressed their noses against the press centre windows, trying to catch a glimpse of the comeback. Japan fans reacted to each Belgian attack, channelling nerves through the pane of glass, and one supporter dissolved into tears as Nacer Chadli scored Belgium's winner deep in stoppage time. Football fans will go to all extremes to watch, even here.

Those looking for any omens from British success at Wimbledon Tuesday would have looked to Courts 1 and 2, where Kyle Edmund and Johanna Konta were getting their campaigns off and running. Both were first on, perhaps a nod from the organisers to allow them to watch the football in the evening. "Whether it's my choice or not, I have a boyfriend at home who is very excited about the match," Konta said, after beating Natalia Vikhlyantseva 7-5, 7-6. "But I've been actually watching some of the World Cup. Yesterday Japan played against Belgium. Oh, that was heartbreaking for Japan at the end, wasn't it?"

Edmund breezed through the first two sets 6-2, 6-3 against Australia's Alex Bolt, with materialistic patriotism few and far between with just a smattering of England football shirts being sported in the crowd. The third set was less straightforward, but Edmund got through 7-5 and attention switched to the second round and to the evening's World Cup game. When asked about whether he agreed with the Wimbledon policy of not showing football, he answered: "It's a tennis tournament. They're here to watch tennis anyway."

Edmund, a big Liverpool fan, added his take on England's prospects. "I think the way the World Cup has worked out, it's pretty indecisive. It's tough to really gauge what's going to happen," Edmund said. "I think that helps England, to be honest. It's there for the taking. Hopefully the boys can get it done, like I said, do the nation proud. Yeah, I'm really pumped to support [them]."

As Edmund eased to victory, Britain's Gabriella Taylor was all square with Eugenie Bouchard at one set apiece, but went on to lose. Naomi Broady and Jay Clarke had already bowed out. But there was an unexpected British triumph to follow.

With about 25 minutes until kickoff in England-Colombia, the screams from the courts were reserved for Britain's Katie Boulter, who had progressed to the second round having beaten Veronica Cepede Royg 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. By that stage, the sole Colombian in the Wimbledon singles draw, Mariana Duque-Marino, had lost 6-2, 6-2 to Alison Riske. Boulter's news conference, not coincidentally, was scheduled for halftime of the England game.

As proceedings started in Moscow, Heather Watson and Katy Dunne were the home hopes left on court. The night was drawing in; England fans had headed for the exits. Dunne lost on Centre Court to former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko. Watson's Court 14 was packed, with spectators standing outside waiting for a seat, poised on tiptoes trying to get glimpses. Though it did seem less manic than normal, there was no noticeable drop-off in tennis interest compared to the previous evening. However, Watson was to be one half of a brutal sporting parallel -- her Wimbledon came to an end at almost the same moment Colombia equalised in Moscow.

Then came the penalties and Dier, the son of AELTC member Jeremy, scored the winner. For the briefest moment, football had breached the All England Club's defences.

Same again on Saturday, lads? England will face Sweden in the quarterfinals of the World Cup, while at Wimbledon, there will be tennis. The World Cup will have to wait at the AELTC gates.