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Penalties Index

England's Penalty Shootout Match Number Ten
9th June 2019 - Switzerland 5 England 6

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N.B. All descriptions of left and right are from the kicker’s point of view.

Match Number Ten – Sunday 9th June 2019

NATIONS LEAGUE SEMI-FINAL Estádio D. Afonso Henriques, Guimarães 15,742 AET

SWITZERLAND 0-0 ENGLAND

Referee: Ovidiu Haţegan (Romania)

Assistants: Octavian Şovre and Sebastian Gheorghe (Romania)

VAR: Michael Fabri and Marco Di Bello (Italy)

England had experienced their first shootout victory for 22 years (and only their second overall) in the previous year's World Cup second round, when they defeated Colombia, 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time in Moscow. This was their tenth shootout in 29 years.

Switzerland had only experienced penalties twice before in full internationals and had lost them both; firstly, in the 2006 World Cup second round, when they failed to register a score, losing 3-0 in the shootout to Ukraine, following a goalless draw after extra time in Köln. Their second shootout had seen them lose 5-4 to Poland, following a 1-1 draw after extra time in Saint-Étienne in the 2016 European Championship second round.

Goalkeepers:

Jordan Pickford (Everton and England) aged 25.

Yann Sommer (Borussia Mönchengladbach and Switzerland) aged 30.

Pickford was making his nineteenth appearance for England. In the previous year's shootout, he had saved Colombia's fifth and last kick by diving low, but blocking it with his up-stretched left hand. The kick previous to that had hit the bar, and of the three that beat him, the first had gone down the middle as he dived to the left, the second was hit into the top left corner as Pickford dived low to his left, and the third sent him the wrong way (he dived to the left). Pickford had only faced one other penalty for England, diving full length to the bottom left corner and getting a hand to it, but failing to prevent Tunisia's equaliser in England's opening match of the previous year's World Cup in Volgograd. In the 2018-19 season he saved three Premier League penalties for Everton out of five faced.

Sommer was making his 47th appearance for Switzerland. Against Poland, three years earlier, he dived the right way for four of the five penalties, and got his hand to one of them, but he was unable to stop any of them. In the previous year's World Cup, he faced a penalty in the 93rd minute against Costa Rica in Nizhny Novgorod. It hit the bar, but rebounded in off Sommer's head for an own-goal equaliser. He had conceded three Bundesliga penalties in the 2018-19 season. Six years earlier, however, he had saved a penalty in a Europa League quarter-final shootout win for Basel in his native Switzerland, against Tottenham Hotspur, with another kick going over the bar.

Kickers (England):

1)       Harry Maguire (aged 26) - Leicester City

20th cap, 1 goal.

Scored three Premier League goals in the 2018-19 season and scored Leicester's first penalty in their Carabao Cup quarter-final shootout defeat against Manchester City. It was hit with the side of his right foot into the bottom left corner and it was their only successful kick. He did not take a kick in the previous year's shootout against Colombia.

Completed his second full game, including extra time in both, in four days.

2)       Ross Barkley (aged 25) – Chelsea

29th cap, 4 goals.

Scored seven goals for club and country in the 2018-19 season and won the Europa League with Chelsea, scoring their first penalty of the semi-final shootout against Eintracht Frankfurt by firing with the side of his right foot into the top left corner. He also started the Carabao Cup Final against Manchester City which Chelsea lost on penalties. Barkley had been substituted, as he was before their semi-final shootout victory, but he did convert Chelsea's second penalty in their successful pre-season International Champions Cup shootout with Olympique Lyonnais, gently chipping the ball with his right foot, in off the right-hand post.

Came on as a half-time substitute in extra time after completing the full two hours of the semi-final.

3)       Jadon Sancho (aged 19) – Borussia Dortmund (Germany)

6th cap, no goals.

Scored 13 goals in all competitions for Borussia Dortmund in the 2018-19 season as they finished as Bundesliga runners-up to Bayern München. Sancho scored in a losing shootout in the pre-season International Champions Cup against Benfica in Pittsburgh.

Came on as a half-time substitute in extra time after playing the first hour of the semi-final.

4)       Raheem Sterling (aged 24) - Manchester City

51st cap, 8 goals.

Won the domestic treble of Premier League Championship, FA Cup and Carabao Cup and was voted Footballer of the Year.

Scored 31 goals for club and country in the 2018-19 season and was England's top scorer with six.

Netted twice for Manchester City in the 6-0 demolition of Watford in the FA Cup Final at Wembley and scored the penalty shootout winner that won the Carabao Cup against Chelsea at Wembley, by scoring in off the bar to the left after hitting it with the side of his right foot.

Missed in the Carabao Cup quarter-final shootout at Leicester, when he tried a side-foot chip with his right foot and it went over the bar.

Completed his second full game, including extra time in both, in four days.

5)       Jordan Pickford (aged 25) - Everton

19th cap, goalkeeper.

Completed his second full game, including extra time in both, in four days.

6)       Eric Dier (aged 25) - Tottenham Hotspur

40th cap, 3 goals.

Scored three Premier League goals in the 2018-19 season and reached the final of the Champions League, appearing for the last sixteen minutes.

In the previous year's shootout against Colombia, Dier scored England's winning kick, side-footing it into the bottom left with his right foot, where the 'keeper got his right hand to it, but could not stop it powering into the corner.

Missed Tottenham's third kick of their losing Carabao Cup semi-final shootout at Chelsea, when he fired over the bar with his right foot.

Completed the full two hours of the game after staying on the bench for the semi-final.

Kickers (Switzerland):

1)       Steven Zuber (aged 27) - Hoffenheim (Germany)

25th cap, 6 goals.

Scored five Bundesliga goals (including a penalty) on loan to Stuttgart in Germany from January to the end of the season, though it ended in relegation to the second division on away goals following a play-off. Earlier in the season, he had scored once for Hoffenheim in the Champions League.

Netted twice for Switzerland in the 2018-19 season.

Came on as a substitute in the 65th minute after starting the semi-final and being substituted with seven minutes left.

2)       Granit Xhaka - (aged 26) - Arsenal

76th cap, 11 goals.

Scored five goals for club and country in the 2018-19 season and reached the Europa League Final with Arsenal. His one goal for Switzerland was a penalty in a friendly against Panama.

Xhaka was the only player to miss in the 2016 shootout against Poland, when he fired it well wide with his left foot and he did not take a penalty in Arsenal's 2017 FA Community Shield victory against Chelsea.

Captain and completed the full two hours of the game after also playing the full ninety minutes in the semi-final.

3)       Manuel Akanji (aged 23) - Borussia Dortmund (Germany)

17th cap, no goals.

Scored one goal for Borussia Dortmund in the 2018-19 season as they finished as Bundesliga runners-up to Bayern München.

Completed the full two hours of the game after also playing the full ninety minutes in the semi-final.

4)       Kevin Mbabu (aged 24) - Young Boys

6th cap, no goals.

Scored one goal in 2018-19, in a Champions League qualifying play-off, as Young Boys won the Raiffeisen Super League Championship for the second year in succession.

Made five appearances for Newcastle United in the 2015-16 season as they were relegated from the Premier League.

Completed the full two hours of the game after also playing the full ninety minutes in the semi-final.

5)       Fabian Schär (aged 27) – Newcastle United

50th cap, 7 goals, including a penalty.

Scored four Premier League goals in the 2018-19 season.

Hit Switzerland's fourth penalty against Poland in 2016, side-footing it to the right with his right foot and sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Scored an 87th-minute penalty equaliser against Chelsea in the 2013 Europa League semi-final for Basel.

Completed the full two hours of the game after also playing the full ninety minutes in the semi-final.

6)       Josip Drmić (aged 26) – Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany)

34th cap, 10 goals.

Scored two goals in the 2018-19 season from only five Bundesliga games, but both were scored in the previous month.

Came on as a substitute in the 87th minute after an 89th-minute appearance in the semi-final.

Extra Time

This was a game that England should have won much earlier. They hit the woodwork three times and created multiple chances. Callum Wilson had a goal disallowed when he was caught by VAR pulling Akanji's arm and bringing him to the ground, in the build-up to the goal. In extra time, Raheem Sterling hit the bar from a free kick, but England were unable to find that vital breakthrough.

The Shootout (England first)

1-0 Maguire fired to the right, with his right foot, at medium height, as Sommer dived to the left.

1-1 Zuber fired into the top left, with his right foot, above Pickford's dive.

2-1 Barkley paused and then gently chipped the ball to the right of centre with his right foot, as Sommer dived left.

2-2 Xhaka side-footed, with his left foot, into the bottom left corner, as Pickford dived to the right.

3-2 Sancho side-footed, with his right foot, at medium height, and Sommer got a hand to it, but it was hit too hard and passed into the right-hand corner.

3-3 Akanji took a couple of casual, bouncing strides and then confidently side-footed with power into the top right corner, with his right foot, as Pickford could only lean in that direction, on his knees.

4-3 Sterling fired, with his right foot, at medium height, into the corner, where Sommer's touch was, again, not enough to stop it.

4-4 Mbabu side-footed, with his right foot, into the bottom left corner, beyond Pickford's dive.

5-4 Pickford fired, with the side of his left foot, into the top right corner, after leaning to his left and sending Sommer the wrong way.

5-5 Schär gently slotted it to the left of Pickford, with the side of his right foot, just slightly to the left of centre, with Pickford having taken a step to the right, and then diving in vain to the left.

6-5 Dier side-footed firmly, with his right foot, into the bottom right corner, with Sommer only able to lean in that direction from his crouched position.

Drmić stuttered a little at the beginning of his run-up, before hitting it with the side of his right foot, at medium height to the left, allowing Pickford to make a full-length diving save, with both hands.

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

As Pickford had already taken a penalty, England would have had five more outfield players to choose from, as opposed to Switzerland's four. Alexander-Arnold, Gomez and Walker were primarily defensive players, or creators, with only two goals between them in the 2018-19 season, but Alli and Wilson would certainly have been expected to step up to the mark. Alli had scored twice from the spot against Watford in the Carabao Cup, including the deciding kick in the shootout. It was only Wilson's third international appearance, but he had scored 16 goals for club and country (including one penalty) in the 2018-19 season, though he had also missed a Premier League spot-kick. Alli and Walker had both been substituted before the previous year's shootout with Colombia.

Why did England win?

Every element of this shootout was affected by the confidence of England's players, who had thoroughly deserved victory in the two hours that preceded the penalty kicks. Admittedly, it might not have been so obvious if there had been more at stake than the dubious honour of third place in the UEFA Nations League, a reward that would only come into play to determine opponents and home advantage in the semi-finals of the following year's European Championship qualifying play-offs, should both of these teams fail to qualify from their groups.

Nevertheless, it was obvious that a huge weight had been lifted from English shoulders when they had dispatched Colombia from the previous year's World Cup on penalty kicks. The Swiss kickers had more international experience than England's, but three of their most experienced and potent players (Rodriguez, Seferović and Shaqiri) had been substituted, as had Kane, England's captain (and winner of the previous year's World Cup Golden Boot). In fact, Eric Dier was the only player with the experience of taking a penalty in the previous shootout, so it was especially pleasing that the confidence was also present in the other five kickers.

Jordan Pickford, of course, became the hero again, and rightly so. Though he admitted that he was nervous and hoped not to have to take the fifth kick which was the beginning of the 'sudden death' situation, he did not show it and appeared to relish every moment, exuding confidence to the point of wanting to be the central character. His kick was, arguably, the best of the six, and the fact that he was the goalkeeper, the success of his kick, struck with such accuracy and power, was almost guaranteed to damage the confidence of lingering Swiss hopes.

The kicks of Sancho and Sterling could be construed as being slightly weaker than the others, but only because of the fact that Sommer got his hands to them. Both kicks were too strong for him and this was his second international shootout in which he had failed to stop a single penalty (eleven in total).

Switzerland had their own confident takers, but it all came down to the players that were sixth in line. These are often reluctant individuals, not confident enough to put themselves down for the first five. However, England had Eric Dier, the man who had despatched Colombia from the World Cup, and only pushed out to sixth because of his super-confident goalkeeper. Drmić couldn't muster the same accuracy. His attempted stutter wasn't enough to effect the wily Pickford and his kick was at the ideal height, and not too near the post, for the stopper to push it away with both hands. Job done!

Two shootout victories in a row is uncharted territory for England. We're hardly in the German class yet, but long may it continue!

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