46 Years of Hurt

Twelveyardaphobia. Definition? A disease suffered by those with an inability to score from the penalty spot in a shootout. Applies mainly to the English. Sunday night was the perfect example of what has become an obsession in our country; we simply cannot win a penalty shootout. There are various theories as to why this may be, ranging from psychological problems to the players simply not being good enough and the defeat to the Italians means England’s record in major tournaments on penalties now stands at six defeats out of seven attempts. Here’s the definitive overview to England’s shootout woe:


World Cup 1990

Opponents: West Germany
Full time score: 1-1
Penalty score: 3-4
Analysis: Gary Lineker’s late leveller meant England faced extra time for the third game in a row, having already seen off Belgium and Cameroon in the extra half hour. This time the game went all the way to penalties after Gazza’s famous tears and despite Lineker, Peter Beardsley and David Platt all finding the target with the first three, so did the Germans. Stuart Pearce then missed the fourth, heaping the pressure on Chris Waddle, who had to score to keep England in the competition. Unfortunately, his effort ended up in Row Z and England’s dreams of reaching their second World Cup final were over.

Euro 1996

Opponents: Spain
Full time score: 0-0
Penalty score: 4-2
Analysis: Terry Venables’s men were fairly disappointing in their quarter final at Wembley and the Spanish might have felt aggrieved at facing a shootout. Fernando Hierro struck the bar with his first effort while Alan Shearer and Platt both scored for England. Nobody could watch as the villain of the piece in 1990, Stuart Pearce, stepped up third looking to rectify his mistake six years before. His face after scoring became an iconic image of English football and David Seaman completed England’s only victory in a shootout to date, saving off Nadal to send the whole country crazy.

Opponents: Germany
Full time score: 1-1
Penalty score: 5-6
Analysis: Buoyed from their quarter final victory over Spain on penalties, England went into the semi full of confidence. They should have won the game in normal time having taken the lead so early through Alan Shearer. Darren Anderton hit the post and Paul Gascoigne came agonisingly close to putting England into the final, but the game ended a draw. The first five were all successful for both sides with Shearer, Platt, Pearce, Gascoigne and Teddy Sheringham converting their efforts to send it to sudden death. Up stepped Gareth Southgate and the rest, as they say, is history. Moller scored for the Germans to put them in the final and Southgate was left to rue his mother’s words afterwards, who offered the useful advice of ‘Why didn’t you just belt it?’

World Cup 1998

Opponents: Argentina
Full time score: 2-2
Penalty score: 3-4
Analysis: The game is remembered as a classic, firstly for Michael Owen’s wonder goal and then David Beckham’s sending off for his petulant flick out at Diego Simeone. Shearer thumped home England’s opener in the shootout as he did in normal time before Paul Ince and Hernan Crespo exchanged misses. Paul Merson and Owen held their nerves, before Kevin Keegan famously tipped David Batty to convert his effort when he stepped up. He didn’t, Carlos Roa saved and Glen Hoddle’s men were out of France 1998.

Euro 2004

Opponents: Portugal
Full time score: 2-2
Penalty score: 5-6
Analysis: A cracking game ended 2-2, though not without controversy after Sol Campbell had a goal ruled out. Despite David Beckham’s space-finding spot kick that still hasn’t landed, England actually held their own initially after Rui Costa missed for Portugal. Owen, Frank Lampard, John Terry, Owen Hargreaves and Ashley Cole all found the net for Sven’s men, but David James couldn’t quite keep out any Portuguese efforts, including Helder Postiga’s chip that kept his side in the shootout. Ricardo then saved from Darius Vassell, before dusting himself off to score the winner and rub salt in England’s wounds.

World Cup 2006

Opponents: Portugal
Full time score: 0-0
Penalty score: 1-3
Analysis: England did well to hang onto a 0-0 draw after Wayne Rooney was sent off on the hour mark for a stamp on Ricardo Carvalho. Once again, Ricardo was England’s nemesis, saving from Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher (who had to retake after scoring initially). Despite Hugo Viana and Armando Petit missing for Portugal, only Owen Hargreaves could find the target with England’s second spot kick and inevitably, it was Cristiano Ronaldo who ended our World Cup dreams again.

Euro 2012

Opponents: Italy
Full time score: 0-0
Penalty score: 2-4
Analysis: After a poor performance, for the first time in history, the England fans were praying for the game to go to penalties. Roy Hodgson’s men duly obliged and duly failed. Despite leading 2-1 after Gerrard and Rooney converted their efforts and Italy’s Riccardo Montolivo shot wide, England still gave away their winning position. Andrea Pirlo chipped his straight down the middle in a manner befitting his performance before Ashley Young rattled the crossbar and Buffon saved from Ashley Cole. Former West Ham reject Alessandro Diamanti then slotted home the decisive kick, sending the Azzurri through to the semis.

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