England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford hit back at Belgium rival Thibaut Courtois after helping England into the World Cup the quarter-finals
Jordan Pickford produced a marvellous save to tip over Mateus Uribe’s thunderous 30-yard volley with time running out in 90 minutes and then he stopped Carlos Bacca’s penalty to help England to a 4-3 penalty shoot-out win.
It was a fantastic response from the Everton man, who was criticised by pundits galore and 6ft 5in Courtois after Adnan Januzaj’s winner in the final group game against Belgium.
“The goalkeeper is 10cm smaller than me,” Courtois told Voetball24. “I would have caught it. He was too busy throwing his legs in the air.”
But Jordan Pickford is made of stern stuff and hit back after blocking Bacca’s spot-kick with a strong hand.
“I have got power and agility. 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,” said 6ft 1in Pickford.
“It is all about the set position and I got a hand to it. I did all my research.
“We knew we had this game, even if it had to go to penalties, we knew we were capable of winning.
“I was in a massive whirlwind but I saved it with my left hand. I’ve been criticised 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.”