England beat Switzerland on penalties in Nations League match for third place

England claimed third place in the inaugural UEFA Nations League after beating Switzerland on penalties.

See how Pickford earned England third spot

At a glance

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was England's hero as Gareth Southgate's team beat Switzerland 6-5 on penalties to claim UEFA Nations League bronze.

England were superior but frustrated over 120 minutes of action in Guimaraes, hitting the woodwork four times in a goalless draw that meant spot kicks were required. The first 11 were successfully converted – England's fifth by Pickford himself – before the Everton No1 saved Josip Drmić's effort to bring the shoot-out to a close.

Kane could not find a breakthrough while on the field
Kane could not find a breakthrough while on the field©Getty Images

England's failure to get the job done in normal time was down to a combination of poor finishing and Pickford's Swiss counterpart Yann Sommer. The goalkeeper twice pushed efforts onto the frame of the goal, from Harry Kane's delicate early chip and Fabian Schär's inadvertent deflection at the start of the second period.

Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli squandered fine chances, and when substitute Callum Wilson did find the net – after Alli's header had also struck the bar – his tap-in was ruled out for a foul in the build-up after VAR was consulted. On to extra time.

Sterling passed up another excellent opportunity and Sommer again denied Alli before Sterling struck the woodwork with a 117th-minute free-kick. There was to be no avoiding penalties; Pickford to the fore.

Man of the match: Jordan Pickford (England)

Pickford relished the shoot-out
Pickford relished the shoot-out©Getty Images

David Moyes, UEFA Technical Observers: "Saved the decisive penalty after scoring himself in a tight, competitive game, to see England gain third place."

View from the stadium

Simon Hart, England reporter: A pleasing end to a year of progress for Southgate's England, who had enough chances to win this game twice over – thanks, in part, to the contribution of Trent Alexander-Arnold, who caught the eye with an impressive supply of crosses for his forwards. Sterling and Alli ought to have converted at least one each, while England can also cite four attempts against the goalframe as evidence they were the superior team, not to forget Wilson's VAR-annulled effort.

Instead it fell to Pickford to reprise his role of penalty hero from last summer's FIFA World Cup. After waiting 22 years to win a shoot-out, England have now done it twice in the space of 12 months.

Switzerland endured a disappointing Finals
Switzerland endured a disappointing Finals©AFP/Getty Images

Matthew Howarth, Switzerland reporter: Switzerland were unfortunate not to score more against the hosts on Wednesday but rarely threatened Pickford's goal on this occasion. While two defeats from two does not tell the whole story of their time in Portugal, Die Nati's disappointment at finishing fourth should not be underestimated: they arrived at the tournament with high hopes of lifting the trophy.

Key stats

1: Pickford is the first keeper ever to take (and score) a penalty in a competitive shoot-out for England.

2: Following last summer's FIFA World Cup round of 16 victory against Colombia, England have now won successive penalty shoot-outs for the first time.

3: England sealed third spot in the inaugural UEFA Nations League, with Switzerland fourth.

It has been a positive 12 months for England
It has been a positive 12 months for England©AFP/Getty Images

4: England have kept a clean sheet in each of their last four meetings with Switzerland.

7: Alexander-Arnold set up seven chances for England.

11: England are unbeaten in their last 11 games against the Swiss.

What's next?

Attention switches back to UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying this autumn. Switzerland are away to the Republic of Ireland on 5 September and England have a Wembley homecoming against Bulgaria two days later. First, though, it's time for a holiday.

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