Pedro Proença (Portugal)
Miranda and Ricardo Santos (Portugal)
Manuel de Sousa and Duarte Gomes (Portugal)
Despite a six-year gap since their
last penalty shootout, England found themselves in a very familiar
situation; their fourth major quarter-final ending in spot kicks, and for
the third time, in the quarter-finals of the European Championship. Their
only shootout victory was back in 1996, now a dim and distant memory.
Italy had suffered more than most
in high-profile penalty shootouts; their first four were all defeats and
they had to endure three successive World Cup eliminations in the 1990s due
to their inability to find the target from twelve yards. These moments
famously included Diego Maradona's Argentina putting Italy out of their own
tournament at the semi-final stage in 1990 (the night before England's first
penalty shootout defeat, to West Germany) and the heartache of seeing Brazil
lift the trophy in 1994, following Roberto Baggio's costly miss.
They recovered, however, to
defeat the Netherlands in the Euro 2000 semi-final, and then banished the
1994 nightmare by defeating France on penalties in the 2006 World Cup Final.
This was followed, two years later, though, by a quarter-final defeat to the
eventual winners, Spain, in the European Championship, their most recent
Joe Hart (Manchester City) aged 25.
(Juventus and Italy) aged 34.
Hart was making his 22nd
appearance for England. He had yet to face a penalty in a full international,
but he had starred in a rare shootout victory for England Under-21s in the
semi-finals of the 2009 European Championship against their Swedish hosts.
Hart saved one penalty, with his feet, and scored another, whilst
also, remarkably, picking up a yellow card for speaking to an opponent
before one of the penalties, which meant that he was suspended for the
final. He had ended the 2011-12 season with an FA Premier League winner's
medal, as his club won their first title since 1968.
Buffon, Italy's captain, was a
very experienced goalkeeper, with 118 international caps to his name. In the
past ten years, he had been involved in penalty shootouts in the 2003
Champions League final (which Juventus lost), the 2006 World Cup final
(which Italy won) and the 2008 European Championship quarter-final (which
Despite losing the Champions
League final to Milan, at Old Trafford, Buffon did manage to save two
penalties; one with a full-length diving save to his right and the other
with his feet. He did not save any in the World Cup-winning shootout, but he
did save spot kicks during games at the 2002 World Cup (against South Korea,
low down to his right)
and at Euro 2008 (against Romania, a spectacular block with his right arm
and leg in the air, as he dived to his left), before saving one penalty, against Spain
(low down to his left), during their shootout defeat.
Juventus had won the Italian
Serie A, with Buffon only conceding 16 league goals during the season.
Mario Balotelli (aged 21) -
12th cap, 2 goals.
Scored 17 goals in all
competitions for the Premier League winners, including 5 penalties, in the 2011-12
Completed his first full game of
the tournament, after being substituted in the first two games, and then
coming on as a substitute to score against the Republic of Ireland.
Riccardo Montolivo (aged 27) -
35th cap, one goal.
Scored 4 times for his club,
including one penalty, in
the 2011-12 season and was about to join Milan for the following season.
Completed his first full game of
the tournament, after making one previous substitute appearance, against
Croatia, in Italy's second match.
Andrea Pirlo (aged 33) - Juventus
87th cap, 10 goals.
Scored three times for his club
in the 2011-12 season and won his second successive Italian league title,
having won it with Milan, the previous year.
Completed all four games in the
tournament and opened the scoring against Croatia in Italy's second match.
Missed Milan's second penalty in
the unsuccessful shootout against Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League
final. Dudek, the goalkeeper, had handed the ball to Pirlo, then danced
around on the line, before taking three steps and saving the shot with his
right hand. It was hit low to the right with the side of Pirlo's right foot.
Scored the first penalty of the
2006 World Cup final shootout, side-footing the ball, with his right foot,
down the middle, gently rising into the top of the net, as the 'keeper dived
to the left.
Missed the 2008 shootout with
Spain as he was suspended for the game.
Antonio Nocerino (aged 27) - Milan
13th cap, no goals.
Scored 10 league goals for his
club in the 2011-12 season.
Replaced De Rossi in the 80th
minute, having made one previous appearance in the tournament, as a 90th
minute substitute in the opening game, against Spain.
Alessandro Diamanti (aged 29) –
3rd cap, no goals.
Scored 8 league goals for his
club in the 2011-12 season, one of which was a penalty.
Spent the 2009-10 season with
West Ham United, scoring 4 penalties.
Replaced Cassano in the 78th
minute, having replaced the same player in the previous game, against the
Republic of Ireland, his only previous appearance in the tournament.
Steven Gerrard (aged 32) -
96th cap, 19 goals.
Scored 9 goals in all
competitions for Liverpool in the 2011-12 season, 3 of them penalties.
Captained his club to both major
domestic finals, winning the Carling Cup on penalties, though Gerrard missed
the first kick of the shootout. It was hit with the side of his right foot
to the left, at medium height, where the Cardiff goalkeeper dived and pushed
it onto the crossbar and out.
Took England's third penalty in the
2006 shootout against Portugal, when he shot, with his right foot,
only slightly to the right of centre, at medium height, and the goalkeeper took a
step forward before comfortably pushing it away with his right hand, as he
dived to the right.
Had not scored for England for
almost two years.
England's captain had completed all four games in
Wayne Rooney (aged 26)
– Manchester United
76th cap, 29
Scored 37 goals for club and
country in the 2011-12 season. 9 of them were penalties.
Missed England's last two
shootouts, against Portugal, because he had been substituted in 2004, and he
had been dismissed in 2006.
Scored in shootouts for United in
the 2005 FA Cup Final and the 2007 FA Community Shield.
Completed his first full game of
the tournament, after missing the first two games, due to suspension and
then scoring the only goal against Ukraine, before being substituted with
three minutes remaining.
Ashley Young (aged 26) -
12 goals for club and country in the 2011-12 season.
Top scorer for England in
the 2011-12 season, with 4 goals.
Scored twice in the same
penalty shootout for England Under-21s in the 2007 European
Championship semi-final, when losing to the Netherlands.
Completed all four games
in his first major tournament.
Cole (aged 31) - Chelsea
Had not scored for
Chelsea for over two years.
Ended the 2011-12 season
by winning the Champions League and the FA Cup with Chelsea.
In 2004, he had converted
England's sixth penalty against Portugal, when he
sent the goalkeeper the wrong
way, after shooting low with his left foot, to the left of centre.
He would have taken England's
fifth penalty in the 2006 shootout against Portugal, but they had already
lost before he could take his kick.
Converted Chelsea's fourth spot
kick in each of the 2008 and 2012 Champions League finals. Against
Manchester United in the 2008 final (which Chelsea lost), he shot low with
his left foot. The goalkeeper, van der Sar, could only push it into the
right side-netting. Four years later, against Bayern Munich, he hit a
left-foot shot at medium height, hitting the inside of the right
side-netting, without the 'keeper getting a touch.
Completed all four games in the
It is believed that Glen Johnson (27 years old, with
caps and one goal) would have taken England's fifth penalty. He had scored
once for Liverpool in the 2011-12 season, but he also scored Liverpool's
fifth and final penalty in the successful Carling Cup Final shootout.
Johnson had completed all four games in the tournament. The other five
outfield players had all scored for their clubs that season. Three of them
(Andy Carroll, Joleon Lescott and Theo Walcott) had scored for England in
the tournament. John Terry had previously netted for England in their 2004
shootout with Portugal, but he had since had the traumatic experience of
missing the kick that could have given Chelsea the Champions League title in
2008. Goalkeeper, Joe Hart had previously scored in a semi-final shootout
for England Under-21s. Jordan Henderson was the least experienced of the
remaining players and he had been substituted before his club's Carling Cup
England had been outplayed by
Italy from half-time onwards. Pirlo had dominated the midfield area and it
had led to a succession of chances for the Italians that they had been
unable to convert. England had defended well, but they had sacrificed their
own attacking ambitions in order to frustrate their opponents. As a result,
they had barely created a chance of their own since the first half. Extra
time had not seen many chances, though Italy had hit the post through
Shootout (Italy first)
1-0 Balotelli strode up confidently to
take the first penalty against his club mate. The two were obviously great
friends and each was struggling to keep a straight face. Balotelli hit the
bottom left corner with a right-foot shot hit with the side of his foot.
Hart dived the right way, but could not reach it.
Gerrard's kick was almost identical
to Balotelli's. He shot, with his right foot,
and found the bottom left corner, with Buffon unable to reach it, despite
his full-length dive.
Montolivo tried to match the
previous kicks by hitting it right-footed towards the bottom left, but it
passed narrowly beyond the left-hand post, with Hart, once again, diving
leaned to his right, but shot right-footed, at medium height, to the left
corner, with Buffon diving the opposite way.
Pirlo gently chipped the ball, with his right foot, straight down the
middle, to land in the back of the net, with Hart, again, having dived to the
Young fired, with his right foot,
straight down the middle, but squarely hit the crossbar, as Buffon dived to
3-2 Nocerino ran up and tried to fool
Hart by slamming his right foot down, but then side-footed, with his right,
into the bottom left corner, as Hart went the other way.
Cole shot with his left foot, low
to the right of centre, where Buffon dived and comfortably collected the
Diamanti side-footed, with his left-foot, low towards the
left-hand corner, with Hart going the wrong way.
Why did England lose?
England pinned all of their hopes on
finally winning a penalty shootout, and tried out a few tactics in an
attempt to unsettle the opposition. Unfortunately, they were outdone by a
little psychology from an experienced opponent. Before the kicks were taken,
Joe Hart was surrounded by the other goalkeepers in the squad and, with the
help of a tablet PC and a piece of paper brandished by Jack Butland, he
appeared to be being reminded of the penalty-taking styles of the Italian
players. We were told that he had studied the past ten years of kicks taken
by their opponents. On the other hand, his opposite number was quoted as
saying that the only videos that he had been watching were of a more
Of the five players selected from each
team, England had the more experienced kickers, though Italy, crucially, had
two individuals who had seen it all at the top level and exuded
self-confidence and belief, which had a positive impact on their
less-experienced team-mates and an intimidating effect on their opponents.
England began well and it was an Italian (Montolivo) that showed the first
sign of weakness, by attempting to match the precision of the first two
kickers. Hart was busily trying to portray himself as a super-confident
individual, jumping up and down on the line, smiling at the kickers, waving
his arms and sticking his tongue out. At one point, the referee had a word
with him to calm down. His behaviour may have worked with Montolivo, but
Pirlo had seen it all before and had his own trick up his sleeve. Observing
Hart's antics, he revealed afterwards that he'd decided that Hart was so
hyperactive that he'd be too eager to dive to the side, hence his gentle
chip down the middle leaving the goalkeeper left on his back, with his legs
in the air, looking slightly embarrassed.
A number of players have scored from
penalties like this in the past (the Czech, Panenka, being the first, in
1976), but rarely has it had such an impact on a penalty shootout. Firstly,
Italy were behind at that point. If Pirlo had missed, Young would have had
the opportunity to put England 3-1 ahead and on the brink of victory. To
attempt such a kick at that moment showed extreme confidence from a player
who'd actually scored by sending his kick straight down the middle in a
World Cup Final shootout (something Hart should have know about). The
remaining kicks showed how much Pirlo's inspiration had changed the
dynamics, as England quickly slumped from their winning position to a tame
submission. There were no further misses from the two remaining (and
relatively inexperienced) Italians, whilst two experienced Englishmen could
not find the net.
Young, who had had a disappointing
tournament, after a fairly successful season, appeared to be trying to fire
the perfect penalty past Buffon and hit it a little too high. Nocerino and
Diamanti both sent Hart the wrong way, with textbook penalties. Cole's kick
was the biggest surprise. He had been in this situation many times before
and never faltered, but for some reason he was to shatter England's
crumbling hopes, with a weak effort that gave Buffon one of his easiest
penalty saves. He certainly didn't need to observe any videos to get through
Yet again, England fell short in a
penalty shootout. They seemed to have prepared more than ever before and, in
Joe Hart, they have a goalkeeper prepared to impose himself on the
opposition, a useful technique against the less-confident. Unfortunately for
England, on this occasion, they were outwitted by experience. Having
conceded so much during the game and started the shootout so confidently,
they allowed themselves to be caught out by a wily old campaigner and didn't
have the strength to fight back. They deserve some sympathy. It was a better
showing than their previous penalties experience (in 2006), and they really
shouldn't have been given the opportunity to win a tie that they were
distinctly second best in, but they can take great heart from the fact that
they are becoming a little wiser to the psychological elements of the
dreaded penalty kicks. England's time will come and we will all breathe a
massive sigh of relief!
One note of caution is that, not only
are England in the midst of a diabolical run of unsuccessful penalty
shootouts (now six in a row), but they have also lost their last four
quarter-finals. Indeed, just six weeks later, the Great Britain team,
containing eight England players of 23 years of age and under, faced a
penalty shootout against South Korea in the Olympic quarter-finals at the
Millennium Stadium, in Cardiff. To no-one's surprise, it was the Koreans
that progressed to challenge for the medals.
We live in hope that these experiences
are so traumatic to the individuals involved that they will do everything in
their power to avoid it happening again.