Thibaut Courtois responds to claims he mocked Jordan Pickford

RATING! 24 million viewers watch England make World Cup Quarter Final

"So, it's a huge moment for these players, but also the generations to come as well".

He is a great goalkeeper.

Plenty of them were not even born when England last made a World Cup final four, as goalkeeper Jordan Pickford - who made two unbelievable saves to keep the Swedes at bay - told a reporter on the pitch in Samara.

The Belgium No1 was accused of mocking Pickford after England's number one failed to save Adnan Januzaj's goal in the sides' Group G clash.

Southgate pointed to England's lack of world-class players, something he attributed to the scarcity of opportunity at the cashed up local clubs who can take their pick of the world's elite young talent.

Having analysed all winning goalkeepers in World Cup history, their average height comes to 1.85m which means that Pickford fits the bill exactly and could be the Three Lions' lucky charm in more ways than one. I want to make that clear.

"I thought they were cynical from the start, only tried to stop England playing and upset them - try to get them sent off".

But speaking after Belgium's quarter-final win over Brazil, Courtois moved to explain the comments calling his Premier League rival "a great goalkeeper".

What Pickford lacks in height, he makes up for in spring and speed around his goal.

Neither side broke the deadlock in extra-time, and so England were faced with two options: finally break their penalty hoodoo or face an early flight home from Russian Federation. I'm already thinking about the next game, we'd have liked a week to enjoy it but we haven't got that, because Sweden are a team I respect hugely. "I don't care if I'm not the biggest keeper because it's about being there in the moment and making the save, and I was", he said in his post match interview. "I'm very good at it".

While the man himself was admirably reserved in his own reflections, manager Gareth Southgate had no reason to dial down his praise.

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