Why England gave Jordan Pickford a different drinks bottle for Colombia shootout


Jordan Pickford was the hero for England on Tuesday night.

England led Colombia 1-0 going into stoppage time in Moscow, only for Mateus Uribe to unleash an outrageous 35-yard volley to make the whole nation skip a heartbeat.

Pickford came to the rescue, though, and pulled off what was arguably the finest save of the entire tournament so far.

Sadly for the Everton shot stopper, Colombia would equalise from that very corner and the cagey affair trundled all the way to a penalty shootout.

However, up stepped Pickford again and with the scores level going into the final round of spot kicks, he made a brilliant save to deny Carlos Bacca and teed up Eric Dier for victory.

Pickford did his research

Pickford would later reveal that research played a key role in his penalty shootout heroics.

"I did a lot of research on them for starters. Falcao is the only one who didn’t go his way," he told ITV.

"I just set my way and went with power. I’ve got power and agility I don’t care if I’m not the biggest keeper but I’ve got the power and agility to help us get around the goal and I’m very good at it. It’s about making the save and being in the moment."

Colombia v England: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

The drinks bottle trick

And it's now emerged that Pickford had an extra trick up his sleeve during the shootout.

The 24-year-old didn't fancy calling upon his memory in the heat of the moment so used a drinks bottle to remember the penalty preferences of the Colombia squad.

According to the Mirror, Pickford was handed a new drinks bottle by goalkeeper coach Martyn Margetson while Gareth Southgate organised the penalty takers.

Written on the bottle were the Colombia players, their details and their preferred sides to shoot.

Pickford used the bottle - presumably placed outside the penalty area with himself - to inform his guesses and only Falcao surprised him.

As a result, there's reason to suggest that research being so close to hand contributed to his save from Bacca and England winning the shootout.

It isn't first time tactics like this have been used at the World Cup with Jens Lehmann famously keeping notes behind his shinpad during penalties against Argentina in 2006.

Colombia v England: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

And it goes to show the attention to detail England have called upon regarding penalties this summer.

Psychologists have been used to ensure the takers are fully prepared and thorough research has been called upon to fully inform Pickford.

The result? A victory at long, long last.

Do you think England can go all the way this summer? Have your say in the comments section below.

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