Here is how a water bottle turned England’s fortunes in the penalties against Colombia
Since winning the World Cup in 1966, England’s performance in the mega-event haven’t been up to the mark. They have produced some legendary players over the years but all have failed to give the nation a reason to rejoice. Even England’s golden generation that consisted of the likes of David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole could not live up to the expectations.
But it really looks like things are changing for them now. After winning the Under-17 and Under-20 World Cup last year, England now are marching towards glory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
They started their campaign with a 2-1 victory over Tunisia followed by a 6-1 thumping of Panama. Though they lost to Belgium 1-0, the team came back strongly to beat Colombia in the Round of 16.
What made their victory over Colombia more special was winning it on penalties. It was something they haven’t been able to do in the World Cup. Penalties have been a horror story for England since long but they have now broken their ‘penalty jinx’ and is something that will give them huge confidence going into the quarters.
England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was undoubtedly the hero of the shoot-out against Colombia but what helped him was a worthless water bottle and we are not kidding. Just before the shootout, Pickford was given a new water bottle by the England goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson. And that bottle had the list of all the Colombian penalty takers and their preferred sides.
According to Mail Online, Pickford hid the bottle with a towel when he came for the toss with David Ospina to prevent the Colombian from getting a hint. Mastermind?
Pickford told the ITV after the shoot-out:
“I did a lot of research on them for starters. Falcao is the only one who didn’t go his way. 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”
Pickford became the first England goalkeeper to make a save in the penalty shootout since David Seaman in 1998 and England are now in the quarter-finals. In the end, it can be said that the England camp nailed it with just one move.