Pickford reshaping opinions of English goalies at World Cup

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The Swedish players were roused from their slumbers and moved out of their rooms, but luckily it turned out to be a false alarm and they could go back to recharging their batteries ahead of their first World Cup quarter-final since 1994.

But it is not merely a case of a temporary burst of patriotic fervour papering over the cracks in society.

Generations of England fans have grown up only knowing disappointment, but Gareth Southgate's side have changed all that with their displays in Russian Federation.

"Southgate is a gentleman to use old-fashioned language".

But the number does not include the millions who watched on big screens in pubs and on beaches.

She said: "It's a great day because we've renewed our vows but even better than that, it's topped off - England won".

Southgate's approach, refreshingly free of the usual football management cliches, has had an impact beyond that of his tone, however.

"When there are just 500 fans inside a ground, you can hear everything they say, every little word that is getting said, so that is what turns you from a kid into a man".

Four days after being England's penalty-shootout star against Colombia in the round of 16, the 24-year-old Pickford produced three brilliant, one-handed saves in a 2-0 win over Sweden to ensure his team ultimately enjoyed smooth progress to a last-four match against Croatia.


The team also features several players of Afro-Caribbean heritage, including Raheem Sterling who was born in Jamaica.

"My first memories of worldwide football are of house parties filled with flags, finger food and football dreams", said Paige Cooper.

On the surface at least, football appears to have healed some of the division caused by the referendum. The record audience watched as Iceland left with a draw against Argentina, one of the favorites of the World Cup.

Former England captain David Beckham also hailed Gareth Southgate's side as "confident, professional and a team that are playing for each other, playing for the manager and playing for our country".

Kyle Walker, for example, repeatedly found himself in good areas and space to deliver a cross but chose to lay the ball off to players with better delivery like Trippier and Jesse Lingard, who assisted Dele Alli for the second goal.

While the squad has a big input from the top Premier League clubs, with Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool well represented, numerous 23 featured for lower division teams earlier in their careers.

Then there is the improved big-game experience, with the England boss thankful to predecessor Hodgson for being bold enough to give young talent a chance at Euro 2016.

The BBC said 19.9 million saw the match on BBC One while 3.9 million used iPlayer.

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