Jordan Pickford was England’s spot-kick hero once more as they beat Switzerland on penalties to finish third in the inaugural Uefa Nations League.
Everton’s goalkeeper saved from Josip Drmic to seal the win after the first 11 penalties in the shootout were scored – having stepped forward to hammer home England’s fifth in confident fashion.
The Three Lions’ victory gave them a small measure of consolation after they lost their semi-final to the Netherlands and it was deserved after they created all the best opportunities in a predictably low-key affair.
Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling hit the woodwork, Swiss keeper Yann Sommer saved superbly from Dele Alli and Callum Wilson had a goal ruled out by VAR after he was adjudged to have fouled Manuel Akanji.
And so it went to penalties, with Harry Maguire, Ross Barkley, Jadon Sancho, Sterling, Pickford and Eric Dier successful before Drmic’s miss.
Switzerland were on target through Steven Zuber, Granit Xhaka, Akanji, Kevin Mbabu and Fabian Schar before Pickford – as he did in the last-16 World Cup meeting with Colombia in Moscow last year – made the decisive contribution.
What they said
England boss Gareth Southgate: “We weren’t against Jordan taking a penalty at the World Cup last summer, it was probably just that a few others had shown a better level but he would be among our better penalty takers.
“Of course if it goes against you, you know as a coach you get it in the neck so I was really pleased to see it go in.
“We all wanted to go forward further and there was a determination to go out with a strong performance. We owed it to ourselves as a group and the 98% of the fans who have supported us incredibly.
“We recognise now that you don’t get many opportunities as an international team and we want to really strive to take the next step.”
England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford: “We always say, ‘Do what it takes to win a game’, and I was a bit nervous taking my penalty – but I’m not nervous saving them.
“We practise them when there’s a major competition or the Nations League, we practise them consistently. I picked my spot and I always seem to be able to get a goal, but I’ve never taken one in a real game, so I was a bit nervous.
“I think we took (off) Harry Kane and some of the other lads who take penalties, so I wasn’t sure where I was in the pecking order. But it’s what you practise for, you practise all the time to make sure you make it easier on the day.”
Pickford makes England history – the stats
- England finished third in a major international tournament for the first time since Euro 1968.
- Switzerland have won just one of their past 23 matches against England in all competitions (W1 D6 L16).
- England have never lost against Switzerland at a neutral venue, winning two and drawing two of their four matches.
- England scored six penalties in a single shootout at a competitive tournament for the first time in their history.
- England have won consecutive penalty shootouts at a competitive tournament for the first time – they had lost five in a row prior to this.
- Pickford is the first goalkeeper to take (and score) a penalty for England in a competitive shootout.
- Kane has failed to score in nine of his past 12 appearances for England and Kane has failed to score in his past two games, after scoring in three in a row between November 2018 and March 2019.
A well-earned rest. England are not back in international action until 7 September, when they host Bulgaria in a Euro 2020 qualifier.