For the first time in a long time, an English goalkeeper is a hero rather than a goat. On Tuesday, 24-year-old Jordan Pickford, who’d made just three appearances for the English national team prior to the 2018 World Cup, came up huge during the Three Lions’ penalty shootout against Colombia, lifting his team to a knockout-round victory. After the game, highlights of Pickford’s penalty save were easy to find online, with American rights-holder Fox Sports showcasing it as the “Save of the Day.”
There was much less evidence of an earlier Pickford marvel, one that saw the keeper take flight to get his fingertips on a swerving long-range strike from Mateus Uribe, preventing the ball from nestling into the top corner of the net. Or as the Guardian’s Barney Ronay put it, Pickford “launched himself like a neon-green sheet blown from the line in a gale, extended his arm, extended his fingers, extended his fingernails and smacked the ball beyond the angle of bar and post.”
Yes, it’s possible the shot was going wide. But it was very, very, very close.
American viewers blamed Fox for not featuring a replay of the best save (and maybe the best shot) of the tournament.
It wasn’t just Fox, though: The replay of Pickford’s save didn’t get shown on Telemundo (which holds the Spanish-language broadcast rights in the U.S.) or ITV (which shows the games in the UK) or in Russia.
It’s important to note that the actual game broadcasts aren’t controlled by the local rights-holders, who transmit feeds provided by FIFA’s Host Broadcast Services. So, bad job FIFA.
That being said, Fox and Telemundo could have put a clip online. The issue there was that Colombia’s Yerry Mina scored just more than 30 seconds after Pickford’s sprawling save, tying the match 1–1 in second-half stoppage time.
In one sense, then, Mina’s goal rendered Pickford’s heroic effort moot. “It was the save that ultimately meant nothing,” said the Telegraph. Then again, what does anything truly mean, man? There’s surely some deeper truth to be extracted from Uribe’s blast and Pickford’s flying-squirrel-like leap.
And so, since a lot of broadcasters couldn’t, wouldn’t, or didn’t show it, here are all the angles I could find of the best save of the 2018 World Cup.
From the live broadcast:
A replay via the BBC:
A slow-motion shot from behind the net:
From high above the stadium:
After watching the save from all these perspectives, I have come to the conclusion that it was indeed good. Nice work, Jordan Pickford.