Gareth Southgate Reveals Plan To Stop England Failing Penalty Shoot-Out
"Gareth Southgate, the whole of the country is with you. Oh and it's saved!" The famous words that accompanied England being knocked out of the Euros in 1996 at Wembley. The England manager is hoping to make sure that doesn't happen against next year.
Ironically the main reason the commentary from that moment are famous is because they form the intro of Three Lions 98 by The Lightning Seeds and Baddiel and Skinner and of course England would go on to lose on penalties at that year's World Cup.
England losing on penalties was a tournament trope between 1990 and 2012 with the national side one avoiding that particular embarrassment twice in the tournaments they qualified for in those 22 years.
Batty's saved penalty in 1998 continued England's bad form in shoot-outs. Image: PA
Of course in the other tournaments during that period, and after, the Three Lions would find other ways of leaving themselves red faced or would just not qualify to avoid embarrassment altogether- if only it worked like that ey Shteve.
But Southgate, having missed the penalty against Germany 21 years ago, wants to make sure penalties aren't his side's downfall next summer and is open to having shoot-outs at the end of friendly games in the lead up to the tournament:
"It's something that we are considering and how we prepare best for penalty shootouts.
"Whether that's something on the training ground, whether that's in sessions we do away from the training ground or something we do in some sort of match scenario, we've not finalised things like that yet, but clearly that is an option."
Vassell's miss in 2002 saw Portugal knock England out but David Beckham had missed earlier in the shoot-out. Image: PA
After starting their World Cup preperation with a draw against Germany the Three Lions now face Brazil at Wembley on Tuesday but they'll be no penalty practice at the end of the match.
Instead, should the post match practice happen, it's likely to take place in March and in June before the team jet off to eastern Europe.
In 2012 it was the turn of the Ashleys as Cole and Young's misses sent Italy through in the Euros. Image: PA
Of course in 1990 it was Germany who knocked England out, 96 was the Germans again, 98 was Argentina's turn, 2004 and 2006 were left to Portugal and 2012 was Italy.
In between England failed to get out the Group Stages in 1992 and 2000, were left embarassed by Ronaldinho's free kick in 2002, and by Germany in 2010 and failed to qualify in 1994 and 2008.
Something has to change if England do manage to make penalties, something they've failed to do in 2014 and 2016, as they've only once won a game via shoot-out and that was against Spain in 1996.
Can Southgate cure England's penalty hoodoo? Will he need to?