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Courtois says he never mocked England ‘keeper Pickford’s height

Thibaut Courtois denies he poked fun at England ‘keeper Jordan Pickford’s height © AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND

KAZAN, Russian Federation, Jul 6 – Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said that he did not mock England counterpart Jordan Pickford’s height after their World Cup group-stage match last week.

Courtois made a string of fine saves in Kazan on Friday as Belgium secured arguably the greatest result in their history with a 2-1 win over Brazil to reach the semi-finals for only the second time.

But the Chelsea man was keen to clear the air after it was reported he said Pickford was “too small” to be a top-level ‘keeper.

“This thing about Jordan Pickford, I want to make it clear, I never mocked his height, he is a great goalkeeper. I want to make that clear,” the 26-year-old told the BBC.

Jordan Pickford saved the penalty that paved the way for England to beat Colombia in a shootout © AFP / Juan Mabromata

Pickford, who is 6 feet 1 inch (185 centimetres) tall, had been criticised for failing to save Adnan Januzaj’s winner when Belgium beat England 1-0 last Thursday top Group G.

“I would never do that to another goalkeeper (criticise his height). I just meant that being 15 centimetres taller, I would have got the ball,” he added.

It had been suggested that finishing second in the group behind England would have given Belgium an easier passage through the knockout rounds, but Courtois insisted that never crossed the players’ minds.

“This team wants to win every game. Against England people said it was better to lose but we won the game, we have confidence in our team.”

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