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England's Shootout Matches England's Shootout Record
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Match Number Three — Wednesday 26th June 1996
Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London 75,862

Referee: Sandor Puhl (Hungary)

Linesmen: Laszlo Hamar and Imre Bozoky (Hungary)

This was England's second successive penalty shootout, after they disposed of Spain in the quarter-final, four days earlier, in the same stadium.  Following a goalless draw after extra time, they had triumphed by 4-2 on penalties.  Now they faced their old rivals again.  In 1990, it had been West Germany who had beaten England in the World Cup semi-final in Turin, by 4-3 on penalties, following a 1-1 draw after extra time.  This had been England's only other experience of shootouts and the last for West Germany before reunification of the country.  The new Germany now faced its first penalty shootout with the pressure of extending the West's record of three consecutive wins in major tournaments, stretching back to the 1982 World Cup semi-final.


David Seaman (Arsenal and England), aged 32.

Andreas Kopke (Eintracht Frankfurt and Germany), aged 34.

Seaman won his 29th appearance, having already faced six penalties in the tournament.  Only three had beaten him.  Turkyilmaz had scored for Switzerland in the opening game, side-footing with his left foot, low into the right corner.  Seaman had dived the wrong way, but seven days later, he had saved his first penalty for England.  McAllister of Scotland had shot right-footed, at medium height, just to the left of centre, and hit Seaman's elbow, as he left his line a fraction early and guessed correctly.  Then, in the quarter-final shootout, Hierro shot right-footed and hit the middle of the crossbar, as Seaman took a step off his line before the ball was kicked, and dived to the left.  Amor then ran up, stopped as Seaman left his line, then side-footed, with his right foot, into the bottom left corner, with Seaman rooted to the spot.  Belsue side-footed, with his right foot, low to the right of centre, as Seaman dived to the left, after taking a step off his line and Nadal shot right-footed, low to the right of centre, but Seaman took a step off his line and guessed correctly, to turn it away with his right arm.  This save clinched victory for England.

Kopke had been in West Germany's 1990 World Cup-winning squad, but this was the first major tournament in which he had actually played.  He had saved a penalty from Zola of Italy, the previous week, at Old Trafford, Stretford, Manchester.  The Italian had side-footed, with his right foot, a weak effort, low to the right of centre, which Kopke had comfortably held on the ground with both hands.

Kickers (England):

1) Alan Shearer (aged 25) - Blackburn Rovers

28th appearance, 10 goals, 5 of which had made him the leading scorer in the tournament, following a spell of two years without an international goal.

Finished the 1995-96 season with 37 league goals, making him top scorer in all four English divisions for the second successive season.

His goal against Germany had been his 42nd of the season for club and country, 5 of which were penalties.

He had started all 5 games in the tournament and completed 4 of them.

2) David Platt (aged 30) - Arsenal

62nd appearance, 27 goals, including 3 penalties, plus 1 miss against San Marino in 1993.

The only kicker to have previously scored in the 1990 shootout against West Germany.

Scored 7 goals in the 1995-96 season, including 1 for England.

Completed the last two games, following 2 substitute appearances.

His kick was his last touch of the ball as an England international.

3) Stuart Pearce (aged 34) - Nottingham Forest

70th appearance, 5 goals.

Started all 5 games in the tournament and completed 4 of them, only missing the second half against Scotland.

Scored 7 goals in the 1995-96 season for club and country, including 3 penalties.

Missed in the 1990 shootout against West Germany.

4) Paul Gascoigne (aged 29) - Rangers

43rd appearance, 8 goals, including 1 against Scotland, earlier in the tournament.

Started all 5 games in the tournament and completed all but the opening game.

Scored 21 goals in the 1995-96 season for club and country, including 2 penalties.

Scottish Footballer of the Year and Scottish PFA Player of the Year as Rangers won Scottish League Championship and Scottish Cup.

Did not take part in the 1990 shootout against West Germany.

5) Teddy Sheringham (aged 30) - Tottenham Hotspur

20th appearance, 4 goals, 2 of which were scored against the Netherlands, earlier in the tournament.

Completed his 2nd game of the tournament, after starting all 5.

Top scorer for Tottenham Hotspur with 24 goals, including 16 league goals and 2 penalties.

6) Gareth Southgate (aged 25) - Aston Villa

9th appearance, but no goals.

Had completed all 5 games in the tournament.

Scored 2 goals in the 1995-96 season, as Aston Villa won the Coca-Cola Cup.

Only taken one penalty before, in injury time for Crystal Palace at Ipswich in 1992, hit the post and the game was drawn.

Shearer had scored his first international penalty against the Netherlands.  It was side-footed with his right foot, low into the bottom left corner, beyond the Dutch 'keeper's dive.  He had converted England's first penalty against Spain, shooting right-footed, rising up to the left corner, just brushing the Spanish 'keeper's fingertips on his left hand.

Platt had converted England's third successful penalty against West Germany in 1990.  It was side-footed, with his right foot, at medium height to the left, where the West German 'keeper could only push it into the corner with both hands.  He had converted England's second successful penalty against Spain, when he again side-footed, with his right foot, rising up to the right corner, above the Spanish 'keeper's dive.

Pearce had missed England's fourth penalty against West Germany in 1990.  He had shot left-footed, straight down the middle and Illgner had blocked it with his legs, as he dived to the left.  Against Spain, however, Pearce had converted England's third successful penalty when he shot left-footed, into the bottom right corner, beyond the Spanish 'keeper's dive.

Gascoigne had converted England's fourth and last penalty against Spain.  He side-footed, with his right foot, low into the bottom left corner, as the Spanish 'keeper dived the wrong way.

Kickers (Germany):

1)       Thomas Häßler (aged 30) - Karlsruhe

2)       Thomas Strunz (aged 28) - Bayern München

3)       Stefan Reuter (aged 29) - Borussia Dortmund

4)       Christian Ziege (aged 24) - Bayern München

5)       Stefan Kuntz (aged 33) - Beşiktaş, Turkey

6)       Andreas Moller (aged 28) - Borussia Dortmund

Häßler had started all three group games, completing two of them, but had only appeared as a substitute in the last two games and had replaced Scholl in the 77th minute.  He had been a member of West Germany's World Cup-winning team in 1990, but had been substituted by Reuter before the semi-final penalty shootout with England.

Strunz had been sent off against Italy, the previous week, for two bookable offences and had returned from suspension as a last-minute substitute for Freund, presumably so that he could take a penalty.  His only other appearance in the tournament was for the last three minutes against Russia. He had won a UEFA Cup winners' medal with Bayern München, the previous month.

Reuter had played the last 15 minutes of West Germany's 1990 World Cup win and was a substitute for Häßler in the semi-final against England, but did not take part in the shootout.  He had only missed the Italy game and completed his fourth and last game of the tournament after picking up his second booking, which would rule him out of the final.  His club, Borussia Dortmund, were German Champions for the second year in succession.

Ziege had scored Germany's opening goal of the tournament, against the Czech Republic, and had completed all five games.  Like Strunz, he had been in Bayern Münchens UEFA Cup-winning side, the previous month.

Kuntz had marked his first full game of the tournament by scoring Germany's equaliser, after previously starting the first game and twice appearing as a substitute.

Moller was Germany's captain for the night in the absence of the injured top scorer and penalty taker, Klinsmann.  He had started all five games and completed his third and last, for, like Reuter, a second yellow card was to end his tournament prematurely.  Moller had scored in Germany's opening game against the Czech Republic and had helped Borussia Dortmund retain the German League Championship.

Matthias Sammer had scored twice in the tournament and would, perhaps, have been Germany's seventh kicker, had it been necessary.

None of Germany's kickers had ever taken a penalty in a major tournament.

Extra Time

Unlike England's quarter-final with Spain, where there were no clear chances in extra time, the incentive of winning the semi-final with a 'sudden-death' golden goal was enough to prompt both sides to attack.  Darren Anderton hit the post in only the third minute of the extra period and the rebound went straight into the arms of Kopke.  Three minutes later, Seaman turned Moller's shot over the bar and the tension reached unbearable proportions after a further three minutes, as Paul Gascoigne was agonisingly close to slotting Shearer's cross into an empty net.  It was a miss which would surely haunt him for the rest of his career.  He was inches away from the touch which would certainly have put England into the final. Germany responded in the second half, with Ziege shooting narrowly wide, as Seaman came out to challenge him.

The Shootout (England first)

1-0 Shearer side-footed, with his right foot, into the top right corner as Kopke dived the wrong way.

1-1 Häßler side-footed, with his right foot, and the ball spun into the bottom left corner, via the inside side-netting, as Seaman dived the right way but had no chance of reaching it.

2-1 Platt side-footed, with his right foot, rising up to the right corner, just above Kopke's right hand, as the 'keeper edged off his line just before the kick was taken.

2-2 Strunz side-footed, with his right foot, and the ball spun into the top left corner, as Seaman took a step off his line before the ball was kicked, but dived the wrong way.

3-2 Pearce side-footed, with his left foot, into the bottom left corner, as Kopke dived the other way.

3-3 Reuter side-footed, with his right foot, rising up to the right of centre, as Seaman dived to meet it, but the ball just glanced off his right hand and continued into the net.

4-3 Gascoigne side-footed, with his right foot, into the top right corner, hitting the inside side-netting first, as Kopke dived the wrong way after taking a step off his line before the kick was taken.

4-4 Ziege side-footed, with his left foot, and the ball spun into the top right corner, via the inside side-netting, as Seaman again took a step off his line before the ball was kicked, but had no chance of reaching it.

5-4 Sheringham side-footed, with his right foot, rising up to the right corner, as Kopke took two steps off his line before the kick was taken and still dived the wrong way.

5-5 Kuntz side-footed, with his left foot, rising up to the right corner, whilst Seaman dived the wrong way.

Southgate side-footed, with his right foot, low to the left of the 'keeper and Kopke dived to block it with his right hand.

5-6 Moller shot right-footed, straight down the middle, rising upwards, as Seaman dived to the left.

If Southgate had scored, who would have taken England's seventh penalty?

England's first five kickers were, undoubtedly, the most prolific in front of goal and the first four had all been successful from the spot, four days earlier.  All the outfield players that remained, after Southgate, (captain Adams, Anderton, Ince and McManaman) had scored at club level that season and only McManaman had yet to score for England. Tony Adams had scored from the spot during Arsenal's successful European Cup-Winners Cup semi-final shootout, the previous year, but the other three had never hit the net from twelve yards.  Ince and McManaman were both to prove, in later years, that they were not the best penalty takers, Ince, to England's cost in the 1998 World Cup and McManaman, for Real Madrid, in 2000.  England's goalkeeper, David Seaman had taken a penalty for Arsenal in a shootout at Wembley, in the 1993 F.A. Charity Shield, but his weak effort was saved.

On his retirement in 2008, Darren Anderton revealed that he was to have taken England's seventh penalty (our thanks to Mike Coxon for bringing this to our attention). Anderton had missed seven months of the 1995-96 season with a groin injury, returning in mid-April, whereupon he scored twice for Tottenham and then twice more for England in a pre-tournament friendly against Hungary at Wembley. He was an ever-present during the tournament, apart from the last 11 minutes of extra time in the quarter-final. Anderton did not score, but hit the post in extra time against Germany.

Why did England lose?

It has often been said that the outcome of a penalty shootout is a lottery.  This is not true.  Most shootouts are decided by the nerves of individual players.  It may be a lottery to outsiders trying to predict the outcome, but not to those involved in the tension and at the centre of the action.  All players are capable of hitting the back of the net from twelve yards, beyond the reach of the goalkeeper, and the reason they sometimes do not is down to their frame of mind at the moment they address the ball, or occasionally, just plain bad luck.  The players that do not miss are the ones that don't take risks in trying to fool the 'keeper.  Of course, the man facing him can also play his part in unsettling the kicker and there have been many examples of just such tactics.  Witness Bruce Grobbelaar's 'jelly legs' at the 1984 European Cup Final, the ultimate show of bravado at the height of tension.  Such a display will usually either be dismissed and ridiculed by a confident opposition or shatter the previously fragile confidence of the kickers facing him.  In this case, it was the latter which prevailed.  Sometimes the shootout is decided by one solitary slip by one single player and, though no one would blame the player, because someone has to miss eventually, it is, ultimately, a team game and it is the team that loses collectively.  The claim that it was a lottery often softens the blow.

When England faced Germany, for once, they had the more experienced penalty takers. They had even grown in confidence after their quarter-final success.  Unlike the 1990 World Cup semi-final, where England had matched West Germany up until the kicks, England had the edge over their rivals during the game, created the best chances in extra-time and relished the shootout.  Germany, after all, were without their talisman, Klinsmann and two of their kickers would not be eligible for the final.  The first ten kicks were an exhibition of the perfect penalty.  Only David Seaman managed to get the slightest touch to one of the kicks. Kopke dived the wrong way for four of them.  Three of the kicks spun into the inner side-netting first, a technique later mastered by Zinedine Zidane, and guaranteed to be beyond the reach of any 'keeper.  Even the Germans, without previous experience in this situation, were able to match the achievements of their predecessors, with ice-cool execution, such that even the previously expert Seaman could not stop any of them.  Both 'keepers attempted to step off the line on occasion, as they desperately tried to find a way of getting nearer to the ball, but all to no avail.

In a contest such as this, the difference between winning and losing was, inevitably, going to be small.  It would appear that after the first ten kicks had been taken, there was less confidence lower down the ranks. The first ten kickers were all supremely confident and knew exactly what they had to do. Unfortunately, the next two produced very poor kicks and it was here where the luck finally decided the winners and losers.  Gareth Southgate had reportedly been keen to take the next kick, something which all coaches hope for when the pressure is on.  He was incredibly brave to step up ahead of more experienced and attack-minded players, especially as an entire nation sat transfixed, mesmerised by the drama and it was unbelievable that he had missed his one and only previous penalty.  Nevertheless, he must have been confident, but even his mother asked him why he hadn't belted it! It was ironic that Kopke did not have to leave his line early to save Southgate's effort, after taking two steps before Sheringham had connected with England's previous spot-kick.  Kopke was undoubtedly lucky, for he did not have the intimidating presence that Illgner had in 1990, but he had saved two penalties in the tournament and both had been woeful efforts.  The tragedy for England, was that the kick which sent Germany through to the final, was also poor.  Andreas Moller did not show any of the finesse of the previous German kickers and just hammered the ball straight down the middle.  England were visibly deflated by Southgate's miss.  Seaman too, looked disappointed, and probably expected Moller's kick to be as unreachable as the previous five.  There wasn't much more that England could have done to win this shootout.  It all came down to the quality of the volunteer sixth kickers.  Southgate picked the wrong option, Moller seized the opportunity and it was all over in a flash.

After this defeat, people began to wonder why Germany always won shootouts and England didn't.  A commonly-held belief was that players needed to practice penalties more, so that it became second nature.  This theory is not supported by the fact that so many regular penalty takers have missed in shootouts.  Glenn Hoddle, nevertheless, insisted that England would practice their penalties before and during the 1998 World Cup.  England lost in a minor tournament on penalties on the eve of the World Cup and then lost to Argentina in the World Cup on a penalty shootout.