Former England and Rangers goalkeeper Chris Woods fully remembers the pressure of having precious little to do for 89 minutes and then being called upon to make a crucial save.

He experienced it plenty of times while keeping goal at Ibrox.

So when Woods watches the current England custodian Jordan Pickford during the World Cup, it’s not the incredible leap to save Mateus Uribe’s shot for Colombia or the spring to dive and then superbly flick away Marcus Berg’s header when England were 1-0 up versus Sweden that he’s most impressed by. It’s the levels of concentration required to do so when he’s spent most of the rest of the match in the Russian heat cooling his heels.

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“I don’t feel he’s actually had a lot to do but when he’s been called upon, he’s come up with the big saves,” said Woods, who watched from the bench as England played their last semi-final in a World Cup, the 1990 defeat to West Germany on penalty kicks.

“That [save from Berg] is what you train for. He’s a top goalkeeper.”

Woods, who recently left his position as West Ham United goalkeeping coach, worked last season with Joe Hart, who was on loan from Manchester City. The experienced England goalkeeper was left out of Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad having been No.1 at Euro 2016, and there were huge questions marks over Pickford handling the magnitude of a World Cup. The 24-year-old Everton player will earn only his ninth cap in the semi-final against Croatia tonight, having come into Russia 2018 with just three.

“It’s strange because sometimes the lack of experience makes you more carefree, there’s no fear factor,” said Woods. “I think that’s gone for him. His temperament has been really good. You’ve got to keep your concentration.

“It’s difficult to play games when you don’t have an awful lot to do. On that side of things he’s stepped up to the mark.”

Where Pickford more than stepped up to the mark is in saving Carlos Bacca’s penalty against Colombia, where his sprawling stop helped England win their first ever shoot-out victory at a World Cup in four attempts.

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Woods was delighted with the win, but it will never compensate for the pain of the 1990 defeat, when Stuart Pearce’s effort was saved by Bodo Ilgner and Chris Waddle blazed high and wide in the 4-3 spot-kick loss.

It came after a 1-1 draw in which Gary Lineker equalised Andreas Brehme’s deflected free-kick for West Germany that wickedly looped over Peter Shilton and in.

“It doesn’t make up for it,” says Woods, capped 43 times by England, of the victory over Colombia. “Going out on penalties was the tough thing. The goal that Germany scored, the deflected free-kick, you remember that.

“It doesn’t get any better than going to a World Cup but obviously to be sat on the bench, there’s just that little bit missing. You’re right behind the team and all the lads – but you just wish you were out on the pitch.”

Woods, however, who became England No.1 when Shilton retired from international football after Italia 90, admits the penalty win over Colombia will have given the current crop a huge confidence surge if tonight’s semi-final is to be decided from 12 yards – especially since opponents Croatia have won both their last 16 and quarter-final ties from the spot.

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“Of course it will,” said Woods, who was joined in Bobby Robson’s 1990 squad by Rangers team-mates Terry Butcher, Trevor Steven and Gary Stevens. “They’ll have been practising penalties, probably after training. Without it becoming a big issue I think they’ll have gone about their business calmly and worked on things.”

But England being England, it’s perhaps best not to let it get that far. And Woods has a simple message to ensure the semi-final is won in 90 minutes and the heartbeats of the England fans, not to mention players, reach levels of medical concern at the prospect of penalties.

“They just need to carry on doing what they’ve been doing,” insists Woods. “They’ve got pace in attack, so they’re always going to be a threat in behind people, and they’ve probably got the best goalscorer in the tournament with Harry Kane. Defensively they’ve got into a really good shape and defended well. Then when they’ve got in behind the opposition defence there’s been joy.”

And, although England will hope he has precious little to do, Pickford has also proven he can provide a crucial, match-winning save when required.