Jordan Pickford is hero as England beat Switzerland on penalties to finish third in the inaugural Uefa Nations League

Jordan Pickford was England's spot-kick hero once more as they beat Switzerland on penalties to finish third in the inaugural Uefa Nations League.

Jordan Pickford is hero as England beat Switzerland on penalties to finish third in the inaugural Uefa Nations League
ordan Pickford was England's spot-kick hero

Jordan Pickford was England's spot-kick hero once more as they beat Switzerland on penalties to finish third in the inaugural Uefa Nations League.

Everton's goalkeeper saved from Josip Drmic to seal the win after the first 11 penalties in the shootout were scored - having stepped forward to hammer home England's fifth in confident fashion.

The Three Lions' victory gave them a small measure of consolation after they lost their semi-final to the Netherlands and it was deserved after they created all the best opportunities in a predictably low-key affair.

Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling hit the woodwork, Swiss keeper Yann Sommer saved superbly from Dele Alli and Callum Wilson had a goal ruled out by VAR after he was adjudged to have fouled Manuel Akanji.

And so it went to penalties, with Harry Maguire, Ross Barkley, Jadon Sancho, Sterling, Pickford and Eric Dier successful before Drmic's miss.

Switzerland were on target through Steven Zuber, Granit Xhaka, Akanji, Kevin Mbabu and Fabian Schar before Pickford - as he did in the last-16 World Cup meeting with Colombia in Moscow last year - made the decisive contribution.

England would have suffered a serious injustice had they not claimed third place, not because they turned in a performance of quality but because they made all the running and the opportunities against a conservative Switzerland.

It was, however, a jaded display lacking in inspiration that reflected not only the gruelling season so many of manager Gareth Southgate's players have endured but also the low-key nature of the occasion.

England's fans stayed on in good numbers after their loss to the Dutch, as did the Swiss, but there were still many empty spaces in the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques, and many supporters actually headed for the exits at the end of normal time to enjoy the sunshine in Guimaraes.

The overall emotion will be disappointment after falling at the semi-final, as England did in the World Cup, but at least the additional pain of the wooden spoon here was avoided.

And Pickford at least provided some form of dramatic storyline by the manner in which he rammed his penalty high past Sommer in front of England's celebrating fans before diving to his right to save from Drmic to finally give some cause for celebration.

There was an almost surreal atmosphere surrounding this third-place play-off.

England and Switzerland, whose players looked pretty much spent, could have been forgiven for wanting to take the first plane home and going on holiday once they had lost their semi-finals to the Netherlands and Portugal respectively.

Uefa, however, wanted to give this tournament the air of a major event and to just have two semi-finals then a final would have made things very short and sweet. In this context, their position was understandable.

There was occasionally a friendly feel as passages of play were conducted in silence, although England's fans were vociferous, especially in their condemnation of VAR after Wilson's goal was ruled out.

It is a tough decision because clearly Uefa wants this Nations League to grow, although the under-stated celebrations and presentation of medals gave an indicator into its status.