Jordan Pickford recalls the greatest moment of his life
The Three Lions enjoyed their best World Cup since 1990 by reaching the semi-finals, before agonisingly losing 2-1 to Croatia after extra time in Moscow.
Everton shot-stopper Pickford played no small part in his country’s campaign, repelling Carlos Bacca’s spot-kick against Colombia in the last 16 and producing a man-of-the-match performance to help eliminate Sweden in the quarter-finals.
It’s England’s historic shootout success over Los Cafeteros – ending a run of five consecutive major tournament defeats against Germany, Argentina, Portugal (twice) and Italy – that lives longest in the memory for the former Sunderland trainee.
“Was it the greatest moment of my life so far? Yeah, it has to be,” he says in the February 2019 issue of FourFourTwo, out in shops on Wednesday.
“It was a great night, with the way the game went and the way the crowd was – we had our fans there but the Colombians turned out in numbers, so it was hostile. I hope there will be a lot more moments like that in the future. You wouldn’t mind doing that again... but in the World Cup final.”
Gareth Southgate’s side have another chance to taste tournament glory in June when they compete in the inaugural Nations League Finals in Portugal, having booked their berth with a 3-2 win over Spain and 2-1 success over World Cup conquerors Croatia.
Pickford says he is determined to lift some silverware with the current crop of young and hungry Lions, as it will boost confidence leading into Euro 2020 and beyond.
“With England, the Nations League is something we really want to win,” he insists. “A bit of silverware – you wouldn’t complain. We’re going into another semi-final, so there’s another stepping stone.
“With it being in Portugal, I know there will be thousands of fans travelling, so there’s a chance to put smiles on people’s faces.
“It’s another stepping stone to where we want to get to in the world rankings, just like the World Cup was a stepping stone. The main thing was to win the fans back and play attractive football, and we did, but we’ve always said that’s not the end for us – it’s the start of us getting better and better. As lads, we want to win every game. If we do, that’s going to bring silverware.”
Read the full interview with Jordan Pickford in the February 2019 issue of FourFourTwo. A goalkeepers special, we also speak exclusively to Gianluigi Buffon, Alisson, Jan Oblak, Dino Zoff, Claudio Taffarel and Jan Tomaszewski. Plus, we hear from Helmuth Duckadam on his penalty-saving heroics for Steaua Bucharest in the 1986 European Cup Final, meet 92-year-old River Plate legend and goalkeeping pioneer Amadeo Carrizo, and trawl the history books to find the maddest of the mad.