If there was anyone surprised about England losing another knockout stage affair in a big tournament after a penalty shootout, you haven’t been following the sport for the last 20 years. Since Italia ’90, when Germany went to the finals at the expense of Bobby Robson’s lads, England have made a point of finding a way to fail from the spot when the match is on the line.
England – Germany, World Cup 1990
Paul Gascoigne was weeping even before the end of extra time, after receiving a yellow card that meant he wouldn’t play in the Finals. England weren’t supposed to get so far in the tournament, but they always surprise when there aren’t any expectations. Still, this was beginning of the tragic nature of England’s exits, instead of just playing badly and not making it. Stuart Pearce and then Chris Waddle missed the penalty kicks.
England – Germany, Euro 1996
Alan Shearer opened the scoring after three minutes, but Stefan Kuntz soon equalized and we had ourselves another England – Germany semi final going the distance, ending 1-1 after 120 minutes. Germany nailed all six of their spot kicks, while England did well with their first 5. Even Stuart Pearce scored. But on stepped Gareth Southgate, and England, hosting the tournament, after already beating Spain in penalty kicks in the previous round (people always forget about that one), were out, once again, because a defender couldn’t convert a penalty kick.
England – Argentina, World Cup 1998
For one half, this was the best match ever played. Two penalty kicks gone either way after 10 minutes, Michael Owen with a legendary goal and Javier Zanetti making it 2-2 right before the break. Somewhere on the way to the penalty kicks England loss David Beckham with a red card which brought on a short-lived wave of hatred towards him back in England.
Both Paul Ince and Hernan Crespo missed the second kick, but it was smooth sailing for Argentina with the next three while England had David Batty ruin it for them this time. Every time, some defensive minded player with a bit less than average technique is the one to mess thing up. Makes you wonder about the depth of quality players on the national team.
England – Portugal, Euro 2004
Another 2-2, another disappointment. Portugal were the better side for most of the match, but England held on to an early lead for 80 minutes before Helder Postiga sent us into extra time. This was the Silver Goal rule in effect, as Rui Costa’s goal after 110 minutes didn’t end the match. Both viewers and some on the pitch were a bit confused. Frank Lampard made it 2-2 five minutes later. Penalty kicks again.
David Beckham of all people missed the first penalty kick for England, but Rui Costa missed for Portugal as well. Darius Vassell missed England’s 7th kick, breaking the curse of the defensive players and putting some blame on strikers as well.
England – Portugal, World Cup 2006
Another red card for an English player, this time Wayne Rooney which left England battling to hang on and reach extra time and penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw. What followed was one of the worst displayed ever from the spot, as Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher missed their kicks, with only Owen Hargreaves making his. Portugal missed twice as well (Hugo Viana and Petit), but closed the deal with Cristiano Ronaldo.
England – Italy, Euro 2012
A terrible second half and extra time due to England’s desire to end this match in 0-0 dragged us all into penalty kicks. Italy blinked first with Motolivo missing the second kick. But then came the two Ashley’s. Young sent the ball to rattle the crossbar while Ashley Cole looked like he was going to miss from a mile away. Easy stop for Buffon, and Diamanti sealed the deal.