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Match Number Seven — Saturday 1st July 2006
Veltins Arena, Erle, Gelsenkirchen, Nordrhein-Westfalen

Referee: Horacio Elizondo (Argentina)

Assistants: Dario Garcia and Rodolfo Otero (Argentina)

For the second successive major tournament, England met Portugal in the quarter-finals and, once again, it took a penalty shootout to settle it. It had now been ten years since England's lone victory in a shootout, against Spain, in the 1996 European Championship. Portugal's very first full international shootout had been their 6-5 victory, against England, just over two years earlier, in the European Championship in Lisbon, following a 2-2 draw after extra time.


Paul Robinson (Tottenham Hotspur and England) aged 26.

Ricardo (Sporting Lisbon and Portugal) aged 30.

Robinson was making his 26th appearance for England. He had only faced one penalty in his international career, saving from Spain's Raul in Madrid in 2004. Raul shot left-footed to right of centre, at a fairly low height, where Robinson dived full-length to turn his shot away with both hands. Robinson was an unused substitute at the 2004 European Championship.

Ricardo had been the hero of the sides' previous shootout in 2004, saving from Darius Vassell and then, astonishingly, immediately stepping up to fire his country into the European Championship semi-finals. In the earlier kicks, Beckham had sliced it and it flew over the bar, to the right, as Ricardo dived to the left. Then Owen's shot went straight down the middle, along the ground, just as Ricardo dived out of the way, to the right. Lampard appeared to hit the ball too high up and it went straight down the middle, again just missing Ricardo's feet, as he dived to the right. Terry shot absolutely straight down the middle, rising into the roof of the net, as Ricardo dived to the left, once again taking himself away from the ball. Hargreaves side-footed, with his right foot, at medium height, to the right of the 'keeper, who was rooted to the spot. Cole side-footed, with his left foot, low to the left of centre, as Ricardo dived the wrong way and, finally, Vassell shot, with his right foot, low to the right of centre, where Ricardo pushed it around the post with his left hand. This was his 54th appearance for Portugal, and Sporting Lisbon had finished as Liga runners-up to Porto.

Kickers (Portugal):

1)       Simao (aged 26) - Benfica

48th appearance, 10 goals.

Captain of Benfica and scored 8 league goals, including 4 penalties, in the 2005-06 season, also scoring a penalty shootout winner in the Cup of Portugal against Nacional in Lisbon.

Scored twice in the Champions League; one against Manchester United at Old Trafford, and one of the goals that knocked Liverpool out, at Anfield.

Converted Portugal's second penalty against England in 2004, when he stuttered in his run-up, causing James to briefly lean towards the left, but the 'keeper then re-adjusted, before diving the other way, as Simao firmly side-footed, with his right foot, at medium height, just left of centre, curling into the top corner.

Scored Portugal's second against Mexico from a penalty in the same stadium, ten days earlier. The Mexican 'keeper had danced from side to side in front of the line before the kick was taken, but ended up to the right of centre as Simao ran up, stopped and then fired, with his right foot, to the left of centre, beyond the 'keeper's full-length dive, which was not enough, due to his starting position.

Replaced Pauleta in the 63rd minute for his third substitute appearance of the tournament, after completing the first and last group games. Curiously, he had also joined the action in the 63rd minute before the previous shootout against England, in 2004.

2)       Hugo Viana (aged 23) - Valencia (Spain)

23rd appearance, one goal, in final qualifying fixture against Latvia in Oporto.

Failed to score in first season in Primera Liga.

Replaced Tiago in the 74th minute, for his second World Cup appearance, having also replaced Tiago for the last eight minutes of the opening game, against Angola.

3)       Petit (aged 29) - Benfica

41st appearance, 4 goals.

Scored three league goals in the 2005-06 season.

Completed his second full game of the tournament, but appeared in every game, also starting the opening game.

Was an unused substitute against England, in 2004.

4)       Helder Postiga (aged 23) - Saint-Étienne (France)

26th appearance, 9 goals.

Began the year on loan from Porto and scored once in Ligue 1.

Scored Portugal's fifth successful penalty against England in 2004, gently chipping, with his right foot, straight down the middle, as James took two steps off his line, before diving to the left, and then stood up again, before the ball had crossed the line.

Started the final group game, against Mexico and did not appear again until replacing Figo in the 86th minute, after having also replaced his captain before the 2004 shootout with England, in which he scored Portugal's equaliser to take the game into extra time.

5)       Cristiano Ronaldo (aged 21) - Manchester United

36th appearance, 12 goals.

Scored 12 goals for Manchester United in all competitions in the 2005-06 season as they finished runners-up to Chelsea in the Premiership.

Scored the third goal as Manchester United beat Wigan Athletic, 4-0 at the Millennium Stadium to win the Carling Cup.

Converted Portugal's third successful kick against England in 2004, when he stopped in his run-up, causing James to take three steps off his line, but then side-footed, with his right foot, high towards the top right corner, just beyond the 'keeper's dive.

Scored Manchester United's second successful penalty in the previous year's F.A. Cup Final shootout against Arsenal, which United lost. Ronaldo stopped briefly in his run-up, before side-footing, with his right foot, low into the bottom left corner as the Arsenal 'keeper, Lehmann dived to the right.

Completed his second full game of the tournament, after starting two others and scored the second goal against Iran from a penalty, when he side-footed, with his right foot, high towards the top left corner, as the 'keeper left his line and went the other way.

Kickers (England):

1)       Frank Lampard (aged 28) - Chelsea

45th appearance, 11 goals.

Chelsea's top scorer with 16 goals, 4 of which were penalties, as they retained the Premiership title.

Scored 23 goals for club and country in the 2005-06 season, 7 of them penalties.

Converted England's second successful penalty, against Portugal in 2004, when he shot, with his right foot, but appeared to hit the ball too high up and it went straight down the middle, just missing Ricardo's feet, as he dived to the right.

Top scorer in England's World Cup qualifying campaign with 5 goals and scored the only goal of the game, from the penalty spot, against Austria, on the day England secured their trip to Germany, when he side-footed, with his left foot, into the bottom left corner, sending the 'keeper the wrong way.

Missed a penalty against Hungary at Old Trafford, two months earlier, shooting low, with his right foot, to the left of centre, where the 'keeper dived and pushed it away with his right hand.

Completed all five games in his first World Cup tournament, but failed to score.

2)       Owen Hargreaves (aged 25) - Bayern München (Germany)

34th appearance, no goals.

Scored three goals in all competitions in the 2005-06 season as FC FC Bayern, München eV won the German double of Bundesliga Championship and DFB-Pokal for the second year in succession.

Converted England's fourth successful penalty, against Portugal in 2004, when he side-footed, with his right foot, at medium height, to the right of Ricardo, who was rooted to the spot.

Completed the last three games, having previously only appeared against Paraguay for the last seven minutes.

3)       Steven Gerrard (aged 26) - Liverpool

47th appearance, 9 goals.

In his first World Cup, became the only England player to score twice in the tournament.

Scored 26 goals for club and country in the 2005-06 season, 4 of which were penalties.

Missed the shootout in 2004, after being substituted by Owen Hargreaves, nine minutes before the start of extra time.

Netted twice in the F.A. Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium, including a last-minute equaliser, to take West Ham United to extra time and then converted Liverpool's second successful penalty in the shootout as they went on to lift the trophy. Gerrard shot, with his right foot, into the top right corner, as the 'keeper dived to the left.

4)       Jamie Carragher (aged 28) - Liverpool

29th appearance, no goals.

Scored one goal in the 2005-06 season, almost a year earlier, in the qualifying stage of the Champions League.

Scored the opening goal of the F.A. Cup Final, in his own net, but Liverpool recovered to win the trophy and Carragher did not take part in the penalty shootout.

Came on as a substitute with two minutes remaining in extra time, presumably so that he could take a spot kick. He replaced Aaron Lennon, who was himself, a substitute for David Beckham.

Missed the opening game of his first World Cup, but started the two remaining group games, completing the last, before ending the tournament as a late substitute in both knockout games.

Scored, what turned out to be, the winning penalty in the 2001 Worthington Cup Final, with Liverpool's sixth kick of the shootout.

Ashley Cole (25 years old, with 51 caps) would have taken England's fifth penalty. He had missed most of the 2005-06 season with a stress fracture of his right foot, but returned to play in the Champions League Final, as Arsenal lost to Barcelona. In 2004, he had converted England's fifth successful penalty against Portugal, when he sent Ricardo the wrong way, but had never scored in open play for his country. He had completed all five games in his second World Cup. Of the remaining players left on the field and eligible to take penalties, Peter Crouch might have been an obvious choice, for he had hit 19 goals in 2005-06 for club and country, he was England's top scorer for the season and he had scored in the tournament against Trinidad and Tobago. His penalty miss against Jamaica, the previous month, was possibly the reason why. John Terry had converted England's third successful penalty against Portugal in 2004, whilst Rio Ferdinand had sat out Manchester United's F.A. Cup Final shootout, the previous year and for Gary Neville, it was his third consecutive England shootout as a centre-circle observer. Goalkeeper, Paul Robinson had scored a Carling Cup goal for Leeds United in 2003, but not from a penalty.

Extra Time

This was a scrappy game of half-chances on a very humid afternoon. With the captain, David Beckham going off injured early in the second half and then Wayne Rooney being dismissed for a stamp on Carvalho, England were deprived of two probable penalty takers. When they were reduced to ten men, because of the sending off, there was an air of inevitability that the best England could hope for was a victory on penalties and recent history did nothing to raise hopes for that prospect. For Rooney, it was particularly frustrating, as he had gone off with a broken left foot against Portugal in 2004, when in top form and this time he had struggled to recapture his form whilst recovering from a recent broken right foot.

The Shootout (Portugal first)

1-0 Simao stuttered slightly in his run-up, but did not trigger a reaction in Robinson, who dived to the left, but could not reach the right-foot shot hit hard and low into the left inside netting.

Lampard shot, with his right foot, low to the right, but Ricardo dived and pushed it away with his right hand.

Viana shot, with the outside of his left foot, but hit the left-hand post, just below halfway, as Robinson took a step forward before the kick was taken and dived to the right.

1-1 Hargreaves side-footed, with his right foot, low to the left of centre, where Ricardo dived and got a hand to it, but only succeeded in deflecting it down, from where it bounced up into the back of the net.

Petit side-footed, with his right foot, low to the left of centre, as Robinson took a step forward and stretched to glance the ball off his right fingertips, then off the post and behind.

Gerrard shot, with his right foot, only slightly to the right of centre, at medium height, and Ricardo took a step forward before comfortably pushing it away with his right hand, as he dived to the right.

2-1 Postiga shot, with his right foot, at medium height, to the left of centre, as Robinson remained on his feet, unable to decide which way to dive.

Carragher side-footed, with his right foot, at medium height, into the right-hand corner, but the referee had not blown his whistle and ordered a retake. After re-spotting the ball, Carragher stuttered slightly in his run-up, then side-footed again, with his right foot, this time placing it low to the left of centre, where Ricardo, after taking a step forward, had to twist back, but still managed to get his right hand back down to the ground to deflect the ball up onto the crossbar and out.

3-1 Ronaldo side-footed, with his right foot, high towards the top right corner, as Robinson took a step forward and dived the other way.

Why did England lose?

This was England's lowest point in a seemingly relentless succession of penalty shootout nightmares. Perhaps, their dismal kicks in this particular contest were down to a fear and foreboding of inevitability. Did they really believe they could win? Apart from the first half against Sweden, they had played the whole tournament without hitting top gear. They had taken a battering from a media that always expected more, their confidence had also been shattered by injuries and loss of form of key players and they were facing a trio of strong characters, each of whom had proved that they were capable of rising to the occasion and dumping England out of a major competition. For Scolari, the former Brazilian coach, it was his third successive quarter-final victory against England. Ricardo had arrogantly consigned England's Euro 2004 ambitions to the scrapheap and Ronaldo's confidence and skills had no respect for the country in which he plied his trade. Yet Portugal's penalties were almost as bad as England's. They, too, were missing key players, Deco and Costinha having been sent off against the Dutch, in the previous round. Four of the first six penalties were missed, but whilst the Portuguese still mustered up three top-class penalty takers, England's let them down badly. Rooney and Beckham could have been expected to increase England's chances greatly and their absence put added pressure onto Lampard and Gerrard, each of whom has proved both before and since, that the pressure of massive cup final shootouts at club level, held no fears for them. Indeed, Lampard scored from penalties in both the semi-final and final of the 2008 Champions League. On this occasion, however, it all proved too much for them. It was left to England's best player on the day, Owen Hargreaves, to prevent a whitewash. Even Portugal's two missed penalties were not enough to revive England's hopes. Ricardo was again the hero, becoming the first 'keeper to save three penalties in a World Cup shootout, and he almost stopped Hargreaves' effort, as well. Would he have stopped the kicks of Lampard and Gerrard if they had been wearing Chelsea and Liverpool shirts? Jamie Carragher was an unexpected taker, but he had been in a similar 'sudden death' situation, five years earlier, for Liverpool. Unfortunately, his confidence on this occasion was shattered by his eagerness to take the kick. The retake put doubt in his mind and having confidently put the ball in one corner, he attempted to change his plan and nervously tried for the other side. Ricardo was quick to seize the opportunity and England were, once more, put to the sword. Ronaldo typically displayed none of the frailties of his opponents and coolly put his team into the semi-finals, where they were, ironically, beaten by a penalty kick, despatched by the French genius of Zinedine Zidane, four days later.

Eleven months later, the first ever England player to miss in a shootout, Stuart Pearce, who was now manager of England's Under-21 side, was anxious to give his charges some penalty practice in a pseudo-match situation, so arranged for them to take part in a shootout after a friendly game with Slovakia at Norwich. They won 4-3 and headed off to the Netherlands for the European Under-21 Championship. England found themselves facing their Dutch hosts in the semi-finals in Heerenveen. The game was drawn 1-1 after extra time and the dreaded spot-kicks loomed. It took a mammoth 32 penalties to decide the winners. England lost by 13 kicks to 12. There were nine separate opportunities for Scott Carson to send England through to the final by stopping a Dutch spot-kick.

So, is this ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory an English weakness? The Dutch, Italians and Spanish have all gone through painful periods of successive penalty shootout defeats in major tournaments, but they have all recovered to record that elusive win. Germany, meanwhile, continue to win every time their penalty-taking skills are put to the test, regardless of the experience of each individual. Maradona, Kempes, Zico, Platini and Baggio have all proved that it is not merely a question of ability. They have all missed in major shootouts.

England have to accept that penalties are part of the game. They have continually allowed themselves to be beaten by seemingly relying on their luck holding out, when faced with teams prepared to do everything in their power to gain that all-important advantage, sometimes psychological, sometimes illegal. There is much they can learn from observing the successful proponents in the art of winning shootouts. When Germany beat Argentina on penalties in the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals, 24 hours before England met Portugal, it was revealed that Jens Lehmann had been given details beforehand of the penalty-kicking styles of their opponents' players. It was no coincidence that Lehmann saved two of the kicks to send his team through. Attention to details such as these can make all the difference and it is this kind of ruthless determination to find an advantage that can improve England's chances in future competitions. So, can we please forget the notion that it's a lottery and start using our brains to outwit the opposition, instead of praising our gallant losers?