Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Arise Jordan Pickford.

It was far from straightforward, largely uninspiring but England are Euro 2024 semi-finalists and at this stage of the tournament, who cares how they play in a results based business? If the Three Lions reach a consecutive European Championship final, the history books won't detail how they played en route.

Bukayo Saka was Gareth Southgate's get out jail card in normal time, but once again, it was the aforementioned Pickford with the decisive moment in the penalty shootout, with a little help from the dark arts.

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Pickford had a cheat sheet strapped to his bottle, detailing which side to pick for each Swiss penalty taker, after the Euros quarter-final went to penalties following a 1-1 draw.

Cole Palmer dispatched England's opener decisively, before it was the goalkeeper's time to shine.

Pickford's use of the dark arts proved to be the difference, making Switzerland's first penalty taker, Manchester City's Manuel Akanji, wait before diving to the left to give England the advantage.

England would win the shootout 5-3 thanks to Pickford's decisive save with Palmer, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, Ivan Toney and Trent Alexander-Arnold all converting under pressure to set up a semi-final clash with the Netherlands.

"The referee didn't let me do my usual process so I had to adapt it tonight because I like to give the lads the ball as a bit of focus for them and a bit of calmness," Pickford told ITV. "Then I had to do my process, but I could only do it on the first one and luckily I saved it.

"I trust my process and what I do with my mentality that I'm going to save at least one for the lads, but I've got to give massive credit to the lads who stepped up and took one. To score all five like that, the way they did, huge credit.

"We've got two lads making two major tournament debuts and then you've got Bukayo coming off the back of 2021 and stepping up. It shows the character in our squad. We've got a quick turnaround, but we're still here. That's what the nation want and that's what we want."

Jordan Pickford saves Manuel Akanji's penalty to set-up a Euro 2024 semi-final clash with the Netherlands.Jordan Pickford saves Manuel Akanji's penalty to set-up a Euro 2024 semi-final clash with the Netherlands. (Image: Nick Potts/ PA Wire)

Gordon Banks, Peter Shilton and Pickford. Three of England's finest ever goalkeepers, but what is it going to take for the former Black Cat to be considered the country's greatest of all time?

Banks is a World Cup winner and his save against Pele in the 1970 World Cup one of the finest stops of all time. Would winning the Euros establish Pickford as England's best ever?

It's an interesting debate to be had. Different eras, different football and different pressure.

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Pickford's record in penalty shootouts already sets him apart - four saves and 14 conceded - five if you want to include his Nations League save to deny Josip Drmic and that then makes it 19 conceded. Historically, English goalkeepers had only made two saves in shootouts, conceding 29.

Colombia in 2018, the moment that made England fans believe. Two saves in the Euro 2020 final against Italy, denying Andrea Belotti and Jorginho to keep hopes alive. Akanji at Euro 2024.

Whatever your views are on England's greatest off all time, Pickford has to be in contention for the title. Silverware this summer would all but solidify that.