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Jordan Pickford is the unsung hero of England’s run to the World Cup semi-final

Glen Hoddle even said Pickford was his man of the match

Wow.

England are in their first World Cup semi-final since 1990 and everyone knows it truly is coming home.

They dominated Sweden to post a 2-0 win in Samara and while everyone was raving about Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli, the true hero of this performance was Jordan Pickford.

We feel you lil Picky

AP:Associated Press
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We feel you lil Picky

Glen Hoddle even said the 24-year-old was his man of the match, some praise.

It wasn’t just his three spectacular saves that gave the Three Lions their first clean sheet of the tournament, nor his commanding presence in between the sticks, nor the way he sprayed some delightful passes across the pitch, it was everything.

A complete performance from England’s number 1.

 

Lets start with the three cat-like saves that made him look like he had built a brick wall in front of England’s net.

The first came at the beginning of the second half after England had been so dominant at the end of the first.

It would have been a sucker punch to concede straight after the break and allow the Swedes a lifeline.

The Wall of Pickford

AP:Associated Press
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The Wall of Pickford

But Pickford wasn’t having any of it.

Sweden launched a ball into England’s box from the left, Ashley Young was beaten at the back post and Marcus Berg bulleted a header towards the bottom corner.

Like we saw in the penalty shootout, Pickford used his ‘power step’ to launch himself to the left and paw away the goalbound header.

Goalkeeping wet dreams.

Not today gentlemen

AP:Associated Press
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Not today gentlemen

Then Sweden came flooding forward again with pretty much the only cohesive move they put together all afternoon.

Viktor Claesson was running onto a loose ball in the box and all he had to do was roll it into the bottom corner.

But he didn’t account for Pickford having the reaction time of a Formula 1 driver and getting down to his right to repel the ball.

Gigi Buffon would have been proud of this one.

AP:Associated Press
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The final act of Pickford’s three-part thriller was to leap like a salmon to deny Berg again with the very tips of his fingertips.

The slow motion replays of this left us drooling.

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Pickford’s speed of thought and throw of his left arm kept the scoreline at 2-0 and made sure there was no nervy.

With the flyers in midfield running Sweden ragged at the back but failing to finish a host of chances, Pickford’s performance meant that England had a comfortable passage to the semis.

We need more Pickford’s in the world.