Jordan Pickford was in heroic form during the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.
Pickford shines at Euro 2020
While there are many tweaks or changes you could have made to England‘s approach in hindsight, you certainly couldn’t level any meaningful criticisms against the performance of their goalkeeper.
Give or take a few overexcited moments in the semi-final win over Denmark, Pickford has barely put a foot wrong all tournament long and scooped the Golden Glove with a superb five clean sheets.
And his display during the curtain closer at Wembley Stadium was typical of his stunning summer with the Everton shot-stopper producing a number of world-class saves to keep Italy at bay.
England vs Italy match reaction (Football Terrace)
Pickford’s great saves vs Italy
Even the goal that Italy did manage to scramble past Pickford came mere seconds after he’d made one of the best saves of the entire tournament to tip Marco Verratti’s header on to the post.
However, there’s no denying that Pickford’s biggest contribution came in the penalty shootout when he’d looked to have done more than enough to set up England for a last-gasp victory.
Pickford reminded us all of his World Cup heroics from 2018 by first denying Andrea Belotti, but heartbreaking misses by Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho put Italy back on the brink of victory.
Penalty shootout heroics
In fact, it looked almost certain that England wouldn’t even take their fifth penalty with Jorginho stepping up to try and replicate exactly what he achieved against Spain by bagging the winner.
Only, Pickford had other ideas. The 27-year-old sparked scenes of unbridled joy across the country by miraculously turning Jorginho’s effort on to the post and keeping England alive.
And to make things even better, footage of Pickford preparing for his moment in the sun has gone viral across social media with many football fans thinking that he was psyching himself up.
Was Pickford hyping himself?
Yes, that’s right: videos appear to show Pickford muttering ‘no problem’ as if to persuade himself that he was capable of achieving the impossible and thwarting Italy’s chance to secure the win.
It makes a heroic moment from Pickford look all the more inspired, so be sure to check out the video in question down below, as well as some of the reaction, to see if you agree with the fans.
Is he talking to the referee or is he psyching himself up like the fans suggest? Either way, it’s clear that a lot of supporters believe in the latter and wouldn’t seem out of character for Pickford.
Pickford’s inspirational performance
The Toffees goalkeeper is a player who wears his heart on the chest, particularly on England duties, so it would simply be the umpteenth reminder that he’s willing to give his all to his country.
Sadly, in the end, Pickford’s potential pep talk wasn’t quite enough to smuggle England into sudden death, even if it was more than sufficient to thwart one of the best penalty takers in the business.
Pickford’s opposite number, Gianluigi Donnarumma, produced an emphatic save to keep Bukayo Saka at bay and duly ensured that football won’t be coming home this summer.
However, just like every member of Gareth Southgate’s inspiring squad, Pickford can sleep easy at night safe in the knowledge that he didn’t leave anything on the pitch. Top man, Jordan.