Courtois 'Should Be Made to Eat Words' Over Criticism of England's Pickford

Chris Kirkland England

England won their first World Cup penalty shoot-out in Moscow on Wednesday (AEST), Eric Dier slotting home after Jordan Pickford had made an exceptional save to deny Carlos Bacca.

Courtois claimed that Pickford was "too short" to keep out the strike that helped Belgium claim a 1-0 win over England in Kaliningrad.

Gareth Southgate, who handed Pickford his England debut, picked him in the final 23-man squad for the World Cup finals in Russian Federation, ahead of the seasoned Joe Hart.

"I don't care if I'm not the biggest keeper", said Pickford afterwards.

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.

England now take on the victor of Russian Federation vs Croatia for a place in the final.

Former Manchester United flop Adnan Janujaz scored the only goal of the game for the Belgians and afterwards, Courtois criticised Pickford's attempt at keeping the effort out, saying: "The goalkeeper is 10cm smaller than me".

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But, speaking in the aftermath of Belgium's 2-1 quarter-final upset of Brazil on Friday, Courtois was at pains to praise his fellow gloveman.

"We knew we had this game, even if it had to go to penalties, we knew we were capable of winning".

"There was also a lot of off-the-ball stuff that I'm sure you've not heard about - all the sort of things that you don't really hear in a football match".

Heading into this year's World Cup it wasn't till very late that Jordan Pickford was named as Gareth Southgate's number one but thank god he did.

"He is a great goalkeeper who proved that this year. He's able to play that way that I think we want to play moving forward", Southgate told journalists.

Paul Gascoigne famously cried after a booking in the semi-final ruled him out of the final - which England failed to reach after losing to West Germany on penalties.

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