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England beat Swiss on penalties to finish third in Nations League

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England beat Swiss on penalties to finish third in Nations League
Soccer Football - UEFA Nations League - Third Place Play Off - Switzerland v England - Estadio D. Afonso Henriques, Guimaraes, Portugal - June 9, 2019 England's Jordan Pickford celebrates with Fabian Delph after the match REUTERS/Rafael Marchante   -   Copyright  RAFAEL MARCHANTE(Reuters)
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GUIMARAES, Portugal (Reuters) – England keeper Jordan Pickford scored and saved in a shootout as they beat Switzerland 6-5 on penalties to finish third in the Nations League on Sunday after the game ended goalless following extra time.

Pickford produced an outstanding save to keep out Josip Drmic’s spot kick low to his right to win the game, after both teams had converted all their previous penalties.

The Everton keeper had rifled home a spot kick himself with a thundering left-foot strike, making him the first-ever goalkeeper to take and score a penalty for England in a competitive shootout, as Gareth Southgate’s side got a deserved win after dominating the game.

England, who were beaten by the Netherlands after extra time in their semi-final on Thursday, picked up their first victory in a third-place playoff game since the 1968 European Championship.

“It was a very tough game but after 120 minutes on Thursday as well, we showed character. This is how we get better as a team by bouncing back,” said Pickford.

England thought they had grabbed victory in normal time when substitute Callum Wilson scored in the 84th minute but to their dismay Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan enlisted the help of VAR and the goal was chalked off due to a push by the Bournemouth striker.

Raheem Sterling’s cross from the left was headed against the bar by Dele Alli and Wilson reacted well to turn the loose ball in, but the review showed that the forward had pulled down his marker Manuel Akanji as he ran into the box.

The technology had also denied England a likely winner in their defeat to the Dutch, when Jesse Lingard’s 83rd-minute goal was ruled out after the use of VAR.

England striker Harry Kane had hit the bar early in Sunday’s match, while they could also point the finger at some poor finishing from Raheem Sterling, who missed a series of opportunities.

Dele Alli had a header superbly saved by Yann Sommer in extra time from one of several excellent crosses by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sterling hit the crossbar with a free kick.

Hosts Portugal face the Netherlands later on Sunday in the final in Porto.

(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Toby Davis)

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