Penalty flop kicks: Cole and Young join England miss list

Jun 25, 2012

Two more footballers enter England's hall of infamy: how missing from the spot became a national sport

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LAST NIGHT'S shoot-out against Italy in Ukraine saw Ashley Cole and Ashley Young join a long list of notable penalty-chokers who have failed for England over the years. Since penalty deciders were introduced to major tournaments in 1982, Italy have won only two of seven they have featured in. Last night, however, they were fortunate to be playing against England, who have an even worse record . . .
Stuart Pearce, England v West Germany, World Cup 1990
This was England's first penalty shoot-out, so the neurosis that grips the nation every time a game goes to 12-yard shots was yet to manifest itself. England were confident after the first three of their five penalty takers – Gary Lineker, Peter Beardsley and David Platt – converted successfully. Then up stepped Stuart Pearce, a reliable penalty-taker for his club, Nottingham Forest. The left-back thumped his shot against Bodo Illgner's legs. England were then relying on goalkeeper Peter Shilton to make a save but he failed to stop Olaf Thon, who put the German's 4-3 ahead. Everything now relied on Chris Waddle...
Chris Waddle, England v West Germany, World Cup 1990  
Waddle blasted the ball over the goal, the significance of his miss best explained in Stuart Pearce's own words: "He put the ball into orbit and we were out of the World Cup". Pearce added: "I don't blame anyone but myself. I was the one who missed first and piled all the pressure on him." Waddle said later: "There were two ways to react; basically you can do a Lord Lucan and disappear or stick your chest out and prove to everybody you're a good footballer." The Sheffield Wednesday man went on to do the latter well enough to win the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award in 1993.
Gareth Southgate, England v Germany, Euro 1996  
The year football “came home” to England. Another semi-final, again against Germany, another penalty shoot-out. But this time England matched the Germans, scoring five out of five to push the shoot-out into sudden death. Alan Shearer, David Platt, the redeemed Stuart Pearce, Paul Gascoigne and Teddy Sheringham had all scored. Up stepped Gareth Southgate, who'd had an impressive debut tournament. His shot was weak and Andy Kopke saved easily. Southgate said afterwards that even his mother had asked him why he did not hit it harder.
David Batty, England v Argentina, World Cup 1998
Two years later, England were on the spot again. Another old foe, and another match impossible to settle even after extra time, the score remaining 2-2, Michael Owen and Alan Shearer having scored for England. To the shoot-out: Herman Crespo and Paul Ince both missed, leaving David Batty to push the series into sudden-death.  Portuguese keeper Roa easily saved Batty's kick and England were out again. Batty dismissed it as a bad day at the office. He also admitted it was the first penalty he had ever taken.
David Beckham, England v Portugal Euro 2004
The Euros were held in Portugal and England took on the hosts in the quarter-final in Lisbon, the tie going to penalties after it ended 2-2. David Beckham stepped up to the spot and shot over the bar - giving the home team an immediate advantage. England scored their next two and Portugal missed one, which meant England were back in the game. After John Terry, Owen Hargreaves and Ashley Cole all bagged their penalties the score was 5-5. Darius Vassell then had his penalty saved and the Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo put the ball past Seaman and England were out once again.
Jamie Carragher, England v Portugal, World Cup 2006
Two years later and England met Portugal in the quarter-final of the World Cup, held in Germany. A goalless draw meant England were once again facing penalties. Portugal scored their first and then Frank Lampard's effort was saved. Portugal went on to miss their next two, with Hargreaves scoring but Steven Gerrard having his shot saved. Portugal's Helder Postiga then netted his penalty but Jamie Carragher missed. Cristiano Ronaldo sealed England's exit from the spot.

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