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Netherlands national football team
European Championship | Semi-Finals
Jul 10, 2024 at 8pm UK
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Euro 2024: Jordan Pickford makes penalty-shootout claim ahead of Netherlands clash

'I thrive under pressure' - Pickford discusses penalty routine ahead of semi-finals
© Reuters
England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford discusses his penalty-shootout routine and explains why he 'thrives under pressure' ahead of Wednesday's Euro 2024 semi-final against the Netherlands.

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has admitted that he is at his happiest as a footballer when he is playing under pressure and is "living the dream" ahead of Wednesday's Euro 2024 semi-final against the Netherlands.

The 30-year-old Everton shot-stopper is a 66-cap England international and is the most-capped Three Lions goalkeeper at major tournaments (24) after overtaking Peter Shilton during the Euro 2024 group stage.

Pickford has played in every minute of England's route to the semi-finals and made a significant contribution in their 5-3 penalty-shootout triumph over Switzerland in the quarter-finals following a 1-1 draw in 120 minutes.

Manuel Akanji's tame effort from 12 yards was kept out by Pickford, who correctly dived to his left as instructed after taking a glance at a penalty cheat-sheet taped to his water bottle.

England, meanwhile, converted five perfect penalties, with Cole Palmer, Jude Bellingham, Ivan Toney, Bukayo Saka and Trent Alexander-Arnold all on target to send Gareth Southgate's side into the last four.

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford pictured in June 2024© Reuters

"The 'Jordan Pickford footballer' comes out" on the pitch

"The lads who executed the five penalties were sensational," Pickford told, "I helped them out by saving the first penalty, which [gave] us an advantage. I'd have liked to have saved more, but they were good penalties that I was facing."

Pickford has excelled in penalty shootouts on the international stage for a number of years and has now saved at least one spot kick in each of the four penalty shootouts that he has been involved in with England at major tournaments.

England goalkeepers had only saved two penalties between 1990 and 2012 and were on the losing side six times out of seven, but since 2018, Pickford has kept out five of the 20 spot kicks that he has faced, helping the Three Lions win three out of four shootouts.

Pickford has established himself as an animated character both during matches and in shootouts, but the goalkeeper has admitted that he is a "different" person away from the pitch.

"I'm different off the pitch, I'm probably a lot quieter and in my own bubble a little bit," Pickford added. "But once I step my foot over that white line, the 'Jordan Pickford footballer' comes out: the passion, the mentality, in the zone - everything comes out with me."

Pickford relishes pressure at highest level

Southgate believes that a key part of Pickford's success in penalty shootouts is how he embraces the pressure of the situation, adding: "I think, sometimes, the goalkeeper that likes to take centre stage in those moments is an important characteristic.

"[Pickford is] very comfortable in that spotlight. I think he's shown time and time again that he can make big saves."

The Sunderland-born shot-stopper relishes the pressure at the highest level, saying: "I love playing under that pressure, and I thrive off it. I'm living the dream. If you don't enjoy that, if you don't enjoy playing football, what's the point in it?"

Pickford is expected to start between the sticks when England lock horns with Netherlands at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund on Wednesday night when both nations battle it out for a place in the Euro 2024 final.

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England's Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates after winning the penalty shootout on July 6, 2024
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