Belgium's Thibaut Courtois made a cutting remark about his Everton counterpart being "10 centimetres shorter" than himself and that he would have stopped the goal Pickford conceded against them in the group stage.
Thirty minutes of extra time failed to celebrate the sides, before the young England team exorcised the demons of shootouts past with a 4-3 spotkick win. "So, it's a huge moment for these players, but also the generations to come as well".
Yet, for a country with a rich tradition of goalkeeping greats, there were huge doubts over who Gareth Southgate would select between the sticks in Russian Federation.
Following Belgium's 1-0 win over England in the World Cup group phase, Pickford was criticised for failing to keep out Adnan Januzaj's victor.
England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford's character and quality has already made him one of Europe's best, according to former manager David Unsworth.
But Pickford hit back after his save allowed Eric Dier to slot in the winning spot-kick and give England their first-ever shootout win at a World Cup finals after failures in 1990, 1998 and 2006.More news: North Korea serious about dismantling nukes
To win in such a manner only served to further England fans' belief that "Football's Coming Home" - but there is one man determined to stop that particular reunion. But the giant Chelsea stopper later clarified that he too is a big fan of Pickford.
However, after helping Belgium to knock out World Cup favourites Brazil in the quarter-finals, Courtois stressed he did not mock Pickford.
"To say that about another goalkeeper, you know we are in the same position". I never mocked his height and I want to make that clear.
Jürgen Klopp described Jordan Henderson as a "proper leader" after the Liverpool captain helped England reach the semi-finals of the World Cup on Saturday. "The other keepers and I, and Marge [the goalkeeping coach, Martyn Margetson], work hard every day to make these saves become a bit easier".
Kirkland has since publicly called out Courtois for his comments, stating: "I think what people said, especially Courtois, was out of order. It's very interesting and I like it".