Rubriek: English articles

Why England failed at penalties versus Italy

Shoot outs are a lotery. It is common knowledge among trainers, players and fans alike. Yes, they are right! But only if both teams refuse to practise! Which was the case in the game Holland-Sweden at the Euro’s in 2004. Both teams had no knowledge on how to take OR stop a penalty. So the lucky ones (Holland) won against the Swedes, where Mjellberg took (and missed) his first penalty since he was….6 years old. Now, finally, England practised on taking penalties, after losing out on 5 earlier occasions.  And still failed to win…how is this possible? There is only one possible reason, the Italians practised in a better way!  When only one of both teams in a shoot out train on taking penalties, the team that does not practise almost always loses. And when both teams practice…well, the the team that practises in the best possible way wins.  If we take a look at the penalty of Young, one can see that the player is running towards the ball in a way that is indicating a high shot. Because his body is leaning too much backwards the ball will almost certainly go too high. He was lucky even to hit the bar! In the case of Cole, the goalkeeper (Buffon) just did not go for the players initial deviation to the right (of GK). In any case, the ball still has to go higher than Cole’s shot that followed. Now it was an easy catch for Italian goalie Buffon. A coach like Roy Hodgson should know that and prepare his players accordingly.

The best English penalty takers, ever

The Dutch and English have at least one thing in common: they are both lousy penalty takers. Since the introduction of penalty shootouts in the international football arena in 1970, both England and Holland created their own penalty traumas. England lost out in 5 out of 6 penalty shoot-outs, the Dutch in 4 out of 5. Famous bad penalty takers? For the Dutch, names like Seedorf, Frank and Ronald de Boer, Cocu, Kluivert, Stam and Bosvelt spring to the mind. The English could show an ever longer list, including names like David Beckham, Stuart Pearce, Gareth Southgate, Paul Ince, Chris Waddle, David Batty, Darius Vassell, Paul Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. But who are the best English penalty takers?