There’s a lot we can take from England’s penalty shootout win over Colombia.
From the fact it was the Three Lions’ first-ever shootout win at a World Cup, to them finally ending their 12-year wait to win a World Cup knockout game.
For us fans, this is all very new territory indeed.
And we think it’s fair to say that our heroic goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is getting all of the attention today, and rightfully so.
The Everton goalie saved Colombia’s fifth pen to give England the advantage, having earlier made one of the saves of the tournament to deny Mateus Uribe’s thunderous 30-yard volley with time running out in 90 minutes.
And it must’ve been all the more satisfying for the young shot-stopper at full-time, considering the amount of critics he’s had to deal with leading up to yesterday evening’s match.
For one, big-nosed Chelsea and Belgium ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois questioned Pickford’s height after their win over England in their group stage clash.
Pickford came under fire from his opposite number after failing to keep out Adnan Januzaj’s match-winner, with Courtois saying to Belgian outlet Voetball24: “The goalkeeper is 10cm smaller than me.
“I would have caught it. “He was too busy throwing his legs in the air.”
Hmm, bit of a dick-move from a goalie who’s been utterly rubbish for large parts of this season.
Former England defender-turned-pundit Gary Neville was also critical of England’s No 1, moaning about his saving-style on ITV: “The goalkeeping’s a bit strange. It’s just all a bit strange to be honest with you.
“His feet are up in the air. His feet are off the ground when he’s jumping. He goes with his wrong hand.”
Wonderfully, after his penalty-saving brilliance last night, Pickford hit back at Courtois and Neville, saying: “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.
“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.”
Best of all though, was his ability to silence Arsene Wenger.
The former Arsenal boss has been getting it wrong for years, relying on the likes of Petr Cech and Shkodran Mustafi in his side and wondering why they’ve struggling to break into the Premier League’s top-four.
Speaking to beIN SPORTS ahead of the game, Wenger highlighted Pickford’s lack of experience at this level,
He said: ”The goalkeeper has no international experience, I have not seen anyone win the World Cup who has been decisive in some moments,” he said.
“We remember with Fabian Barthez, Iker Casillas or Manuel Neuer for Germany.
“When you look at the teams who have won the World Cup you realise there is always a big goal-keeper in goal.
“We have no examples of a team who won the World Cup without a big, big massive goalkeeper.
“Pickford will maybe be one, but at the moment he lacks experience and they might pay for that.”
We reckon he’s more than made up for his lack of experience. don’t you, Arsene?