Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford said he had done his research on Colombia and that his “power and agility” helped save Carlos Bacca’s penalty in a nail-biting shootout victory that saw England reach the World Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.
The Everton player was criticised after conceding Adnan Januzaj’s winner in a group-stage 1-0 loss to Belgium, including by his Belgian counterpart Thibaut Courtois, who said he was too small.
But Pickford hit back after his save allowed Eric Dier to slot in the winning spot-kick and give England their first-ever shootout win at a World Cup finals after failures in 1990, 1998 and 2006.
“I did a lot of research on them, I’ve got power and agility,” Pickford told ITV.
“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.”
Substitute Dier was relieved to see his penalty squirm past David Ospina, after missing a great chance to seal a last-eight spot in extra time.
“It was a nervous one, I’ve never really been in a situation like that, but I felt like I had to score after the header I missed at the end there, so I’m just thankful I scored,” said the Tottenham midfielder.