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England's Shootout Matches England's Shootout Record
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Match Number Two — Saturday 22nd June 1996
Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London 75,447


Referee: Marc Batta (France)

Linesmen: Pierre Ufrasi and Jacques Mas (France)

England's first European Championship shootout was also their first on home soil. Their only previous experience of the nerve-wracking way to decide a game of football was at the 1990 World Cup semi-final, when West Germany defeated them 4-3, following a 1-1 draw after extra time in Turin. Spain had reached the European Championship final in 1984, after their very first shootout gave them a 5-4 victory against Denmark in the semi-final in Lyon. The game had ended 1-1 after extra time. Two years later, at the World Cup, penalties proved their downfall in the quarter-finals, as Belgium beat them 5-4 in Puebla, again following a 1-1 draw after extra time. Exactly ten years later to the day, Spain took part in their next shootout, with the same goalkeeper.


David Seaman (Arsenal and England), aged 32.

Andoni Zubizarreta (Valencia and Spain), aged 34.

Seaman, winning his 28th appearance, had faced penalties at Wembley Stadium, in each of their opening games on the previous two Saturday afternoons. Turkyilmaz had scored for Switzerland, 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.  At club level he had earned a reputation as an expert at saving penalties. In the previous year's European Cup-Winners Cup semi-final, Seaman saved three penalties in the shootout against Sampdoria in Genoa, to take Arsenal through to the final.

Zubizarreta, Spain's captain, was winning a record 110th appearance. He had been beaten by all five penalties against Belgium in 1986, diving early and the wrong way each time, but in the 1990 World Cup, two players (Sosa of Uruguay and Scifo of Belgium) had failed to beat him from the spot. Sosa had fired over the bar and Scifo had hit the bar. Zubizarreta had dived the right way on each occasion and had taken a step off the line, before each kick was taken.

Spain had conceded a penalty against Bulgaria in their opening game of the tournament, at Elland Road, Leeds. Stoichkov had side-footed it with his left foot and hit the right-hand post low down, beyond Zubizarreta's dive. It then rebounded behind the 'keeper and hit the inside of the left-hand netting. Zubizarreta had been about a yard off his line when the ball was kicked.

Kickers (England):

1) Alan Shearer (aged 25) - Blackburn Rovers

27th appearance, 9 goals, 4 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 second goal against the Netherlands, four days earlier, had been his 41st of the season for club and country, 5 of which were penalties.

This was the first game in the tournament in which he had failed to score, after starting all 4 and completing 3 of them.

2) David Platt (aged 30) - Arsenal

61st appearance, 27 goals, including 3 penalties, plus 1 miss against San Marino in 1993.

The only kicker to have previously scored in a shootout for England.

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

Completed his first game of the tournament, following 2 substitute appearances.

3) Stuart Pearce (aged 34) - Nottingham Forest

69th appearance, 5 goals.

Started all 4 games in the tournament and completed 3 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 England's previous shootout, in 1990.

4) Paul Gascoigne (aged 29) - Rangers

42nd appearance, 8 goals, including 1 against Scotland, seven days earlier.

Started all 4 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 England's previous shootout, in 1990.

21-year-old Robbie Fowler of Liverpool, who had replaced Teddy Sheringham for the last 12 minutes of extra time, was standing by to take England's fifth penalty. He had scored 37 goals in the 1995-96 season, including 1 for England Under-21s and was the PFA Young Player of the Year for the second year in succession, but had only started and completed one game for England. Fowler had only appeared in the tournament as a late substitute for each of the last two games. Besides Fowler, four other England players left on the field (captain Adams, Barmby, Southgate and Stone) had all scored for their clubs that season. The other two substitutes, Barmby and Stone, had also scored for England that season, though Sheringham, the only other player in the side to have scored from penalties that season, had been taken off.

Shearer had scored his first international penalty, four days earlier, when giving England the lead against the Netherlands. It was side-footed with his right foot, low into the bottom left corner, beyond the Dutch 'keeper's dive.

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.

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.

Kickers (Spain):

1)       Fernando Hierro (aged 28) - Real Madrid

2)       Guillermo Amor (aged 28) - Barcelona

3)       Alberto Belsue (aged 28) - Real Zaragoza

4)       Miguel Angel Nadal (aged 29) - Barcelona

Hierro had completed all 4 of Spain's games in the tournament.

Amor had completed his first full game of the tournament, after starting the first game and coming on as substitute to score the winner against Romania, four days earlier.

Belsue had completed his 2nd game of the tournament, the other being the opening game.

Nadal had completed the last 2 games, having been suspended for the first 2.

José Luis Caminero, who came on as substitute for Manjarin, at half-time, was the only other player left on the field at the end of extra time, who had previously scored in the tournament, so was, perhaps, waiting to take the fifth penalty. Caminero had scored a late equaliser against France, seven days earlier.

None of Spain's kickers were recognised strikers, but Hierro had converted 2 penalties in qualifying games for the European Championship.

Extra Time

This was the first big game, which could have been decided by a 'sudden-death' golden goal, but both sides were unwilling to take risks to win the game and the extra half-hour passed without incident.

The Shootout (England first)

1-0  Shearer shot right-footed, rising up to the left corner, just brushing Zubizarreta's fingertips, as the 'keeper, a yard off his line, dived correctly, but failed to reach it with his left arm.

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.

2-0 Platt side-footed, with his right foot, rising up to the right corner, above Zubizarreta's dive, as the 'keeper again stepped a yard off his line.

2-1 Amor 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.

3-1 Pearce shot left-footed, into the bottom right corner, beyond Zubizarreta's dive, after the 'keeper had leapt from his line, then taken another step before the ball was kicked, leaving him two yards from his line.

3-2 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.

4-2 Gascoigne side-footed, with his right foot, low into the bottom left corner, as Zubizarreta dived the wrong way after once again ending up two yards from his line.

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.

Why did England win?

The partisan home crowd gave England a distinct advantage, after a game in which Spain were the better side, though similar situations have had the opposite effect on home teams in some shootouts. Certainly, Stuart Pearce's emotional outburst after his successful kick, fired up the crowd. Zubizarreta, like Peter Shilton in 1990, had based his reputation as a goalkeeper on expert positional sense, narrowing down the angle, rather than relying on instinctive reaction saves. As a young goalkeeper, ten years earlier, he had been woeful in Spain's World Cup exit on penalties, diving too early and the wrong way, as the kickers were able to wait for him to make his move. It is clear that he adapted his technique when facing spot-kicks over the years and his strategy against England was to gain as many steps as possible before the kick was taken. All obviously illegal, but without risk, as referees never penalised goalkeepers for leaving their line in shootouts. Ironically, this tactic could have cost his country a place in the semi-finals, because by taking a couple of steps off the line and 'narrowing the angle of opportunity for the kicker', Zubizarreta, inadvertently, gave himself less time and room to stretch and cover his goal as the shots flew past him. Indeed, he got a faint touch to the first kick, from Shearer, when a yard from his line. If he'd stayed on his line, the spring from that position may have enabled him to get a stronger hand to the ball. Having 'got away' with leaving his line for the first two kicks, Zubizarreta managed to get further off his line for the other two kicks, in his desperate attempts to save. Unfortunately for him, all four of England's kicks were hit confidently, either in or close to the corner of the net. Had they been less so, his strategy may have worked. It should be noted that Seaman also left his line early for each of Spain's kicks, though to a lesser degree, but with Spain's penalty-taker, Hierro missing their first kick, they were always under more pressure than England to recover.

This seemingly unique success in England's penalty shootout history was quickly forgotten, as just four days later, they were eliminated in the semi-finals, on penalties, inevitably, by Germany.