Pickford the hero as penalty curse ends

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 Jul 2018 12:26:34


 

 

 

Moscow

The research paid off for Jordan Pickford.When Carlos Bacca stepped up to take Colombia’s fifth and final penalty, Pickford knew he was likely to shoot to the left.The 24-year-old goalkeeper, in just his seventh England appearance, trusted his research and leaped. Research wasn’t enough on its own — he also needed lightning reactions to shoot his left arm up to paw away Bacca’s high shot.The save gave England’s Eric Dier a chance to win the shootout , and he converted. England moved on 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.


“I did a whole bunch of research,” Pickford said, his confidence sky-high. “(Radamel) Falcao is the only one who didn’t go his way. I don’t care if I’m not the biggest keeper in the world. I have the power and agility.” Pickford was just two years old when England last won a penalty shootout, a few days older when the now-England coach Gareth Southgate missed the deciding penalty in a European Championship semifinal loss to Germany.


That defeat at home was treated almost as a national trauma, as was the penalty loss to Argentina two years later.
Pickford only emerged as a leading Premier League keeper last year and made his debut for England in November. But he has rapidly become part of Gareth Southgate’s new generation of English talent.At 6 foot 1 inch (1.85 meters), Pickford is small for a World Cup goalkeeper.