Jordan Pickford's mouthing at Mandzukic comes back to bite him
It ain't over 'til it's over.
Jordan Pickford had a great World Cup. He had a good game against Croatia too and he'll probably win a place in the team of the tournament for his performances. But nobody likes prematurity.
During extra time of England's eventual loss to Croatia, the teams were deadlocked at one apiece and Mario Mandzukic looked for all the world like he was about to finish the tie in the 106th minute. A fizzing ball in bounced perfectly into the path of the most lethal Croat. He hit it like he would've wanted to but he had Jordan Pickford clattering into him and deflecting the ball brilliantly over the bar.
Mandzukic took a number of nasty bumps and cuts for his troubles and didn't even get the goal in the end despite doing everything right.
Thats the beauty and curse of good goalkeeping.
— Alessandro Borghi (@aborghi_borghi) July 11, 2018
But after pulling off such a remarkable piece of play on the biggest stage, Jordan Pickford reverted to the most anti-Buffon thing he could've done, he left his class at the gates and stood over the strewn Mandzukic and had some words.
A great save, an important moment but some unsavoury chest-beating to follow it up.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) July 11, 2018
But, you know what they say: he who laughs last laughs longest.
And it was only minutes later that the chance was presented once more to Mario Mandzukic. A chance for revenge, a chance for history, a chance for immortality.
With one vicious left-footed strike, Mandzukic gave Pickford no hope and, at the same time, he crushed all of England's hopes.
The ball crashed off the net, Pickford crashed off the ground and the striker reeled away having sent his country to the World Cup final for the first time in their history.
As it stood, the save in the 106th minute meant nothing in the end. The winning goal will be remembered forever.
Pickford to Mandzukic: Get the fuck up!
Mandzukic to Pickford: Will that do?
— Ross McCafferty (@RossMcCaff) July 11, 2018
"If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster. And treat those two impostors just the same..."
Reflection is the better part of a champion.