Good thing England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford didn’t listen to all his detractors this week who were criticizing him for his lack of height or choice of and to make saves with.
After the goal he conceded against Belgium, it seemed every one had an opinion about the goalie’s technique, physique and everything in between. Luckily, the Everton #1 is strong enough mentally to not let that get in his way.
Ironically enough, his most astonishing save was barely noticed because the corner that Colombia won from that garnered them a last-minute equalizer - watch it from two different angles:
And then in the ensuing penalty shootout, Pickford made the crucial save on Colombia’s last spotkick, which allowed Eric Dier to slot home and get England their first ever win on a penalty shootout in World Cup history. Pickford is also the first English goalie to make a penalty save at the World Cup since David Seaman.
The Pickford save on Bacca is pure class. pic.twitter.com/PA26lE6QbO— AgentHades (@AgentHades) July 3, 2018
After the game, speaking to ITV Pickford exuded confidence -
“I did all my research on them, for starters, so we had a fair idea. [Radamel] Falcao is the only one who didn’t really go his way.
”I’ve got power and agility to help me get around the goal, I don’t care if I’m not the biggest keeper because it’s about being there in the moment and making the save and I was. It’s all about the set position and I got a hand to it.
”Our mindset and mentality, we never stopped. We knew we had this game, even if it had to go to penalties, we knew we were capable of winning.”
He added to BBC Radio about the last save -
“I was in a massive whirlwind but I saved it with my left hand. I’ve been criticized for going with my top hand, but as long as you save it, that’s all that counts. I might be young but I’ve got good mental strength and experience and I used that today.
”It’s a great night to win a penalty shootout. Ideally we don’t want to be going to a penalty shootout but we are delighted for the fans and the whole country. It gives us belief to go into the Sweden game and we will get straight back to business tomorrow.”
Pundits can analyze all they like, but Pickford is a purely instinctive keeper and his high risk, high reward style will continue to raise eyebrows as England progress through the tournament.