While doing the research for my article "Top 5 Haunting Penalty Misses", I came across a lot of articles on the misfortune of English national team in penalties. This prompted me to dig deep into England's footballing history regarding penalties and thus, ended up in writing this article.
Here are some of the infamous penalty misses in an England jersey over the years listed below:
· Tom Finney, England vs Spain, 1955
Tom Finney, fouled by a defender in the area as Johnny Haynes' pass sent him clear after 7 minutes with the game still scoreless, had his timid kick saved by goalkeeper Carmelo.
England won the game comfortably 4-1 but with this began a series of penalty misses for England at Wembley, total nine misses in regulation time including four in successive matches.
· Bobby Charlton, England vs Scotland, 1960
Bobby Charlton, who had already taken an equalizing penalty kick after he was brought down in the area early in the second half, was given a second near the match's end.
His kick went straight at goalkeeper Frank Haffey, but the referee ordered it retaken because of encroachment by Eric Caldow. Charlton's second effort was even worse; it went well wide.
England drew the match at 1-1.
· Kevin Keegan, England vs Switzerland, 1975
Kevin Keegan had the chance to put England two up at 12 minutes when a penalty kick was awarded after goalkeeper Burgener brought down David Johnson, put clear by Colin Bell, in the area. Burgener dove to his right to save Keegan's effort.
England won the match 2-1.
· Stuart Pearce, England v West Germany, 1990
This was England's first penalty shoot-out, so there was as yet no neurosis about the subject.
There was a confident and carefree England on field as the first six penalties were scored – Lineker, Peter Beardsley and David Platt converting for England.
Then up stepped Stuart Pearce, a noted penalty-taker for his club, Nottingham Forest. The left-back, nicknamed Psycho for his aggressive tackling, thumped his shot against Bodo Illgner's legs.
"My world collapsed," he wrote later. "The walk back to the centre circle was a nightmare as the first onrush of tears pricked at my eyes." England were relying on goalkeeper Peter Shilton to make a save. He failed to stop Olaf Thon, who put them 4-3 ahead.
Up stepped Chris Waddle...
· Chris Waddle, England v West Germany, 1990
The scene is best explained in Stuart Pearce's own words, "he[Waddle] 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 later said: "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."
He went on to do the latter well enough to win the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award in 1993. He also became a folk hero at Marseille before returning to England, where he played until the age of 37.
· Gary Lineker, vs Brazil, 1992
Captain Gary Lineker's weak effort after 10 minutes led to an easy save by Carlos, who had brought down Lineker for the penalty kick award.
It was the first time he failed to score on a penalty kick in his England career.
England drew the match 1-1.
· Gareth Southgate, England v Germany, 1996
Another semi-final, again against Germany, another penalty shoot-out. But this time England matched them, scoring five out of five to push the shoot-out into sudden death. Shearer, Platt, the redeemed Pearce, Gascoigne and Teddy Sheringham 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.
England have not reached a semi-final since.
· Alan Shearer, England vs Poland, 1997
Captain Alan Shearer shot against the post on 45 minutes with the last kick of the first-half, the only time he missed a penalty kick for England.
The kick was given when Shearer was taken down while preparing to shoot after controlling a cross to the far post from David Batty. This was Shearer’s only penalty miss.
He ranks right up there with Ron Flowers as England’s most successful penalty taker with a tally of six goals apiece.
· David Batty, England v Argentina, 1998
Two years later, England were on the spot again. Another classic match, another old foe, had been impossible to settle even after extra time. Five penalties were converted, leaving Batty to push the series into sudden-death. Roa easily saved Batty's kick and England were out again.
Batty is dismissed it as a bad day at the office. He also admitted it was the first penalty he had ever taken. He played for another decade before retiring with a total of eight goals in 438 league matches.
· David Beckham, European Championship, 2004
Beckham had long been England's penalty–taker, scoring the penalty that beat Argentina in the World Cup in Japan in 2002. But he put a penalty high over the bar in Turkey during qualifying for Euro 2004. Then he missed a penalty in the opening game against France.
Nevertheless, as captain, Beckham expected, and was expected, to step up to take the opening penalty after yet another dramatic and controversial tie. Beckham slipped as he took the kick and he skied it.
However, it was Darius Vassell's miss in the 13th kick which caused another heartbreak for England.
More recently, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Peter Crouch added their names to this infamous list in 2006.
But you would be surprised to know the fact that till Aug 2006, England lost only one of the 21 post-war matches in which they missed penalty kicks proper[not shootouts]; their record was 14 wins, five draws and one loss.
This suggests England's best penalty kick takers--those chosen to take penalty kicks proper--usually rise to the occasion when the game is at stake.
But in penalty shootouts, only one in seven ended up in England's favor.
But I believe it’s just a matter of time before England rises to the occasion and start winning penalty shootouts.
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