England penalty practice helped goalkeeper Nick Pope come out on top against Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy

Clarets goalkeeper Nick Pope and Leicester City striker Jamie VardyClarets goalkeeper Nick Pope and Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy
Clarets goalkeeper Nick Pope and Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy
It wasn't the first time that Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope had faced Jamie Vardy from the spot. The pair would often pit their wits against each other when practising penalties before and during the Fifa World Cup in Russia.

The England internationals didn't play any part in the shootout against Colombia at the Otkrytiye Arena in Moscow 18 months ago, but they were both very much involved in preparations.

Gareth Southgate had been looking to change the narrative after the nation had suffered three defeats from as many World Cup shootouts and six losses in seven shootouts in major tournaments.

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Six of Vardy's 23 goals for the Foxes during the 2017/18 campaign had come from the penalty spot and the striker, who had replaced Raheem Sterling late on in the last 16 tie, may have been called upon at some point had Eric Dier failed to create history.

That process of polishing up on penalty techniques paid off for the Three Lions, as they brought an end to 28 years of hurt in World Cup shootouts, but it seems as though it also paid dividends for Pope.

The 27-year-old guessed the right way to keep out the striker's penalty at Turf Moor on Sunday, springing to his left to beat the ball away in the 68th minute with the score locked at 1-1.

"I think he probably did score a few," said Pope. "The World Cup is a long time ago now, it's a great memory of mine, but it's something that you can't put too much energy or thought in to.

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"It's all about there here and now so as a goalkeeper you pick a way and, if the ball does go that way, you've got to make sure that you cover as much of the goal as you can.

"If you go the wrong way you've got no chance so if it does go your way you've got to put every effort into getting something on it.

"It's a bit of both [research and feel]. I just felt it. I thought 'why not?' and luckily enough it came off. The rebound didn't go in either so that was nice as well."

The save was the turning point in the game, and possibly in Burnley's campaign, as Ashley Westwood went on to net his first goal of the season with just over 10 minutes remaining to wrap up the points.

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The midfielder's well-executed finish from Charlie Taylor's delivery arrested a run of four successive defeats in the Premier League and brought up a third win in 10.

"A big thing for us was coming from one goal behind to get level; that showed enough character," said Pope, who was voted man of the match.

"Even though I made the penalty save the game isn't finished and as a goalkeeper it's nice when you make a penalty save and it actually means something and you get some points afterwards.

"It's very much about centering yourself after the penalty has gone, relax and move on to the next involvement in the game.

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"Individually it's nice, but, as a team, just to be in the dressing room at the end when you've got those three points and you know how hard you've worked as a group for them, it's great. To put in that performance, come out with three points and share that together afterwards is really nice."

Pope added: "We've not had a bad season. We've got 27 points so it was just a bad run that we've come out of.

"We can't stop here, it's one game, so it's great to get three points and feel like we're back on it and stop the rot, as it was, but now we've got to take that into Wednesday.

"When you go through a run like that you've got to have reason, speak to yourself, show character and dig deep. We did a lot of that.

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"It's always tough whether it's one game, two games, however many it gets to. If you keep losing then it's only going to get more negative.

"To come out with a win to break it is massive and it says a lot about the players in the dressing room because we've stuck at it. To come through it like we have today is magnificent."