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
David Seaman (Arsenal and England),
Andreas Kopke (Eintracht Frankfurt and
Germany), aged 34.
Seaman won his
29th cap, 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, 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.
1) Alan Shearer (aged 25) –
28th cap, 10
goals, 5 of which had made him the leading scorer in the tournament,
following a spell of two years without an international goal.
1995-96 season with 37 league goals, making him top scorer in all four
English divisions for the second successive season.
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.
David Platt (aged 30) – Arsenal
62nd cap, 27
goals, including 3 penalties, plus 1 miss against San Marino in 1993.
kicker to have previously scored in the 1990 shootout against West Germany.
Scored 7 goals
in the 1995-96 season, including 1 for England.
last two games, following 2 substitute appearances.
His kick was his last touch of
the ball as an England international.
Stuart Pearce (aged 34) – Nottingham Forest
70th cap, 5
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) –
43rd cap, 8
goals, including 1 against Scotland, earlier in the tournament.
Started all 5
games in the tournament and completed all but the opening game.
goals in the 1995-96 season for club and country, including 2 penalties.
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) –
20th cap, 4
goals, 2 of which were scored against the Netherlands, earlier in the
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) –
9th cap, but
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thomas Hassler (aged 30) –
Thomas Strunz (aged 28) – FC Bayern München AG
Stefan Reuter (aged 29) – Borussia Dortmund, Nordrhein-Westfalen
Christian Ziege (aged 24) - FC Bayern München AG
Stefan Kuntz (aged 33) - Besiktas, Turkey
Andreas Moller (aged 28) – Borussia Dortmund, Nordrhein-Westfalen
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.
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 FC Bayern München AG, the previous month.
played the last 15 minutes of West Germany’s 1990 World Cup win and was a
substitute for Hassler 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, Nordrhein-Westfalen, were German Champions for the second year in succession.
scored Germany’s opening goal of the tournament, against the Czech Republic,
and had completed all five games. Like Strunz, he had been in FC Bayern München AG’s UEFA Cup-winning side, the previous month.
marked his first full game of the tournament by scoring Germany’s equaliser,
after previously starting the first game and twice appearing as a
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, Nordrhein-Westfalen retain the
German League Championship.
Sammer had scored twice in the tournament and would, perhaps, have been
Germany’s seventh kicker, had it been necessary.
Germany’s kickers had ever taken a penalty in a major tournament.
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.
Shootout (England first)
with his right foot, into the top right corner as Kopke dived the wrong way.
1-1 Hassler 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.
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.
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.
with his left foot, into the bottom left corner, as Kopke dived the other way.
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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, mesmorised 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.
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.