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England's Shootout Matches England's Shootout Record
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Match Number Eleven — Sunday 11th July 2021

The National Stadium connected by EE, Wembley, London

Referee: Björn Kuipers (Netherlands)

Assistants: Sander van Roekel and Erwin Zeinstra (Netherlands)

VAR: Bastien Dankert (Germany), Pol van Boekel (Netherlands), Christian Gittelmann (Germany) and Marco Fritz (Germany)

This was England's eleventh shootout in 31 years. Two years earlier, they had won their second in succession for the first time, when they defeated Switzerland, 6-5 on penalties following a goalless draw after extra time in Guimarães in the UEFA Nations League third place play-off. Having lost seven of the eight shootouts prior to that, they now took part in one for the first time where a major trophy was dependent on the outcome.

England's last defeat on penalties had been to Italy in the quarter-final of the 2012 European Championship in Kyiv. Italy won 4-2, following a goalless draw after extra time. Since then, they had lost 7-6 to Spain in the 2013 Confederations Cup semi-final, beaten Uruguay 3-2 in the third place play-off and lost 6-5 to Germany in the Euro 2016 quarter-final in an epic shootout that ran to 18 kicks. Italy had twice been in shootouts in World Cup Finals, losing in 1994 to Brazil, but beating France in 2006. They had now reached the European Championship Final by beating Spain 4-2 on penalties, just five nights earlier, at the same end of the same stadium.


Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan and Italy) aged 22.

Jordan Pickford (Everton and England) aged 27.

Donnarumma was making his 33rd appearance for Italy. He had never saved a penalty in regulation time for his country, but he had saved one out of six faced by Milan in the 2020-21 season, though Lazio scored from the rebound. Another one of the six was shot wide as Milan finished runners-up to city rivals, Internazionale in Serie A. However, he also saved one to win a mammoth 24-kick Europa League play-off shootout 9-8 against Rio Ave in Portugal, with another two hitting the post and one over the bar, and Donnarumma himself firing one too high. Belgium's Lukaku had scored against him in the quarter-final by side-footing straight down the middle as Donnarumma dived to the left. In the semi-final shootout, he had saved one kick with his left forearm, from Morata's weak effort, side-footed low to the right. Spain's first kick, from Olmo, had gone over the bar, though Donnarumma had dived the right way, and two kicks had beaten him. Moreno had side-footed to the right, over Donnarumma's diving right hand, after a slight stop in the run-up, and Thiago had sent Donnarumma the wrong way by doing a little jump as he was about to side-foot it into the bottom left corner.

Pickford was making his 38th appearance for England and it was his third shootout in just over three years. He had saved one kick in each of the previous two shootouts. In the 2018 World Cup, Pickford had saved Colombia's fifth and last kick by diving low, but blocking it with his up-stretched left hand. Against Switzerland, a year later, 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, to win the shootout. Since then, he had faced four penalties for England, three of which were converted and one hit over the bar. He had only faced three for Everton during the 2020-21 season, with one missing, again over the bar.

Kickers (Italy):

1)        Domenico Berardi (aged 26) - Sassuolo

17th appearance, 5 goals.

Top scorer for his club, and scored 22 goals for club and country in the 2020-21 season, seven of them penalties, including scoring two in one game. One had been saved. He had never taken one for Italy and he had not scored in the tournament.

Came on as a substitute in the 55th minute, his third successive appearance from the bench, after being substituted in three of the first four games, and missing the final group game, against Wales.

2)        Andrea Belotti (aged 27) - Torino

39th appearance, 12 goals.

Captain of Torino and top scorer for his club, scored 16 goals for club and country in the 2020-21 season. Five were from penalties, including one for Italy, and one kick was saved, but he scored from the rebound. He also scored in a Coppa Italia shootout against Milan which they lost.

Came on as a substitute at the beginning of extra time, his fourth successive appearance from the bench, after also joining the action for the last ten minutes of the first game, against Turkey, and completing the full game against Wales.

Took Italy's second penalty against Spain, and fired into the bottom left corner with his right foot, beyond the goalkeeper's dive.

3)        Leonardo Bonucci (aged 34) - Juventus

109th appearance, 8 goals.

Scored twice for Juventus in the 2020-21 season as they won the Coppa Italia, and Italy's equaliser in the 67th minute against England.

Side-footed over the bar with his right foot with Italy's seventh and last penalty in a shootout against Spain in the 2013 Confederations Cup semi-final. Three years later, in the European Championship quarter-final against Germany, he equalised with a penalty, side-footed into the bottom right corner, after a slight feint with his right foot, but then missed Italy's fifth kick of the shootout, when he did the same feint, but his sidefoot to the left was saved by Neuer.

He did not take another penalty for Italy, until the third kick of the Wembley shootout, against Spain, when he side-footed low to the right, as the 'keeper went the other way.

Started all seven games, only being substituted at half-time against Wales. Captain against Wales and Austria.

4)        Federico Bernardeschi (aged 27) - Juventus

34th appearance, 6 goals.

Did not score at all for Juventus in the 2020-21 season as they won the Coppa Italia, but netted twice for Italy in friendlies.

Came on in the 86th minute for his third appearance as a substitute, after playing the first 75 minutes against Wales, and then not playing again until the 107th minute of the semi-final.

Took Italy's fourth penalty against Spain, side-footing with his left foot, high to the top right corner, over the goalkeeper's dive.

5)        Jorginho (aged 29) - Chelsea

35th appearance, 5 goals.

Won the Champions League with Chelsea and scored eight goals during the 2020-21 season, plus one for Italy. All nine were penalty kicks, though he also missed three. All of his five for Italy were also from the spot. He had also beaten Jordan Pickford with a penalty against Everton, four months earlier, but he had previously missed in shootouts for Napoli (in the 2014 SuperCoppa Italia) and Chelsea (in the 2019 Carabao Cup FInal), though he had scored for Chelsea in six separate shootouts.

Completed his sixth full game of the tournament, including the three games at Wembley, all of which went to extra time, and he only missed the last 15 minutes of the game with Wales.

Took Italy's fifth and deciding penalty against Spain to take them through to the final. He leapt up and side-footed with his right foot into the right corner, with the goalkeeper just going down on his right knee.

Kickers (England):

1)        Harry Kane (aged 27) - Tottenham Hotspur

61st appearance, 38 goals.

Scored 39 goals for club and country in the 2020-21 season, seven of which were penalties. He also scored Tottenham's fifth and last kick in a shootout victory against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.

He had scored four goals in the last three games, the last of which came after he missed his third penalty for England, having previously scored ten, but he scored the winning goal from the rebound.

As well as winning the World Cup's Golden Boot in 2018, he scored England's first penalty in the shootout against Colombia when he fired into the bottom left corner, beyond the goalkeeper's dive. He missed the shootout against Switzerland, a year later, because he had been substituted.

Started all seven games in the tournament as England's captain. Though substituted three times, he had completed through extra time, the last two games.

In the semi-final, against Denmark, four nights earlier in the same stadium, his penalty in the 104th minute, was side-footed low, just to the right of centre, where Schmeichel comfortably blocked it, but it fell straight back to Kane, who slotted it into the opposite side with his right foot, as the goalkeeper dived full length in vain.

2)        Harry Maguire (aged 28) - Manchester United

37th appearance, 4 goals.

Scored twice for Premier League runners-up, Manchester United and three times for England in the 2020-21 season. Stayed on the bench, recovering from an ankle injury whilst United were losing the Europa League Final on penalties to Villarreal.

Scored England's first penalty, against Switzerland, in the Nations League shootout, two years earlier, when he fired to the right, at medium height, as the goalkeeper dived to the left.

Completed each of the last five matches, with extra time in the last two, after recovering from his ankle injury, and scored against Ukraine in the quarter-final.

3)        Marcus Rashford (aged 23) - Manchester United

46th appearance, 12 goals.

Scored 23 goals for club and country in the 2020-21 season, including three penalties, two of which were for England. Manchester United finished as Premier League runners-up. He also scored their fourth penalty in their Europa League Final shootout against Villarreal which they lost.

Scored England's second penalty against Colombia in the 2018 World Cup shootout, sidefooting hard and low into the bottom left corner, beyond the goalkeeper's reach. He stayed on the bench for the following year's shootout, against Switzerland, but he had given England the lead with his first international penalty, in the semi-final, against the Netherlands.

Came on as a substitute in the 120th minute, his fourth appearance from the bench in the tournament, and amounting to less than ninety minutes in total.

4)        Jadon Sancho (aged 21) - Borussia Dortmund (Germany)

22nd appearance, 3 goals.

Scored 17 goals for club and country in the 2020-21 season, three of them penalties, and netted twice in the final as Borussia Dortmund won the DFB-Pokal.

Scored England's third penalty in the shootout against Switzerland, two years earlier, when he side-footed, at medium height, into the right-hand corner, and although the 'keeper got a hand to it, it was hit too hard for him to stop it.

Came on as a substitute in the 120th minute for only his third appearance of the tournament, having played the last ten minutes against the Czech Republic and completed the full quarter-final against Ukraine.

5)        Bukayo Saka (aged 19) - Arsenal

9th appearance, 1 goal.

Scored seven goals for Arsenal in the 2020-21 season, plus his first international goal, on the eve of the tournament, against Austria.

He had been substituted before both of Arsenal's penalty shootouts against Liverpool, in the FA Community Shield and the Carabao Cup, and had never taken a penalty in senior football, though he did score one for England in a losing shootout against the Netherlands in the 2018 UEFA Under-17 Championship semi-final at Chesterfield.

Came on as a substitute in the 70th minute, after starting three of the previous four games, but being substituted in each.

Extra Time

Luke Shaw's wonder goal in the second minute put Italy's 33-game unbeaten run under threat, but just as in successive semi-finals in 1996, 2018 and 2019, an early lead wasn't enough to win the game. Italy re-grouped after 25 minutes. They began to stifle their hosts and exert pressure, before forcing defensive errors at a second-half corner where they equalised. As the game passed into extra time, England managed to create some half-chances, but their opponents always looked the more likely to score. Italy were unable to break down England's defence again, however.

The Shootout (Italy first)

1-0 Berardi side-footed into the bottom left corner, with his left foot, sending Pickford the wrong way.

"It's a strong start, solid penalty" - Jermaine Jenas (BBC1)

"Cool as you like from Berardi" - Chris Sutton (Five Live)

1-1 Kane fired into the bottom left corner, with his right foot, beyond Donnarumma's dive.

"Never in doubt" - Jermaine Jenas (BBC1)

"Real conviction" - Chris Sutton (Five Live)

Belotti side-footed, with his right foot, low to the right, where Pickford pushed it away.

"He reads it brilliantly" - Chris Sutton (Five Live)

1-2 Maguire blasted it into the top right corner, with his right foot, as Donnarumma dived the other way.

"Absolutely smashes it, takes the camera out!" - Jermaine Jenas (BBC1)

"In your life, have you seen a better penalty than this?" - Lee Dixon (ITV)

"Three Donnarummas wouldn't have saved that!" - Chris Sutton (Five Live)

2-2 Bonucci stopped for a split-second and then side-footed, with his right foot, over Pickford's dive to the left.

"As soon as you lift it like that, the 'keeper's got no chance" - Lee Dixon (ITV)

Rashford ran wide to the left, ran up and then slowed right down, before side-footing, with his right foot, and hitting the left-hand post as Donnarumma moved the other way.

"Took a long time, didn't he, to take that?" - Chris Sutton (Five Live)

3-2 Bernardeschi side-footed low, with his left foot, straight down the middle, as Pickford dived to the left.

"Pickford goes early" - Chris Sutton (Five Live)

Sancho took only two steps, before side-footing, with his right foot, at medium height, to the right, where Donnarumma got both hands to it and pushed it away.

"Little stutter, wait for the 'keeper to go, and Donnarumma didn't" - Lee Dixon (ITV)

"Sancho telegraphed that" - Chris Sutton (Five Live)

Jorginho leapt up and side-footed with his right foot towards the bottom left, where Pickford dived full length to tip it onto the post and back into his arms.

"What a save! What a moment...the biggest of his life!" - Jermaine Jenas (BBC1)

Saka ran up and down on the spot, then ran up and side-footed, with his left foot, low to the right, where Donnarumma pushed it to safety with both hands.

"He goes across Donnarumma, it's not going right into the corner" - Chris Sutton (Five Live)

If Saka had scored, who would have taken England's sixth penalty?

Since the beginning of the season, all of England's practice penalty sessions had been logged by Gareth Southgate's assistant, Steve Holland, and the order of takers on the night was determined by Southgate, who also took into account the relative successes of the players that had taken penalties for their clubs, rather than primarily basing his selection on how the players felt at the end of the game.

The one exception to this was that Jordan Pickford, having impressed when taking a kick in the shootout against Switzerland, two years earlier, was originally put in sixth place, only for Aston Villa's Jack Grealish to be moved ahead of the goalkeeper when he asked to be placed higher than his allocated eighth position (he was also behind Kalvin Phillips). Grealish had missed his only penalty in a regular game, against Sheffield United in 2019, when he hit the middle of the crossbar, but earlier that year, he had scored in Villa's winning Championship Play-Off semi-final shootout against West Bromwich Albion. The 25-year-old midfielder had scored seven goals in the 2020-21 season and had yet to score for England. He had entered the field as a 99th-minute substitute, his fourth such appearance during the tournament, in which he had started only one game, against the Czech Republic.

It was a surprise to most that Raheem Sterling, the scorer of three goals in the tournament, was only ninth in line to take a penalty, as he had scored England's fourth kick against Switzerland, two years earlier, he had scored a late penalty winner for England in Iceland at the beginning of the season and he had even scored the kick that won the Carabao Cup for Manchester City in 2019. Sterling had missed his last four penalties for City, however, though he scored from the rebound following one of them, whilst one was re-taken and then saved again. Sterling had also not taken part in City's last shootout, the FA Community Shield of 2019.

Mason Mount and Kieran Trippier were likely to have been in contention to take kicks had they not been substituted, whilst John Stones had previously scored in shootouts for Everton, including a cheeky disguised lob into the corner against Juventus in the 2013 International Champions Cup in San Francisco, when he was 19 and before his league debut for the club. Luke Shaw, meanwhile, had scored for Manchester United in the recent Europa League Final shootout, as well as giving England the lead in this final, with his first goal for his country.

Why did England lose?

Initial criticism was laid at Southgate's feet, firstly because it was felt that he had been too cautious during the game. It must have been incredibly tempting, having got into a winning position for the first time since 1966, for a number of players to be wary of taking risks and try to settle for what they had, but it should also be borne in mind that they were playing against the best team in the tournament, unbeaten in almost three years, and with a strategy that was well capable of overwhelming the opposition. England held them back, just, and if they had taken a few chances to go for a late winner, they might just as easily have opened themselves up to concede again. Southgate's strategy had worked spectacularly up to then, so there was no reason to doubt his approach for the final, having proved so many people wrong as the tournament progressed, in terms of both tactics, and individual player performances.

His plan to put Rashford and Sancho on as late substitutes specifically so that they could take penalties was bold and was also criticised. Sven-Göran Eriksson had also tried this approach to bring Jamie Carragher on against Portugal at the end of the 2006 World Cup quarter-final. Carragher initially scored, but the kick had been taken too quickly and the retake was saved. The suggestion that the players were not as prepared as those already on the field seems unlikely. Tiredness can be as debilitating as rustiness, and players are often thrown into the thick of the action in the modern game. We have seen a number of players score with their first touch of the ball.

Perhaps the biggest brickbat to come Southgate's way was the fact that the three youngest players left on the field were entrusted with England's last three penalties. Saka, in particular, at 19, was extremely young to be given a task that no other England international has ever been given, that of having to score to keep his country in a major international final. Firstly, it can be argued that players of that age are rarely affected by the fear of failure. Every player in that England team had already proved themselves good enough and experienced enough to be part of that historic occasion, and by association, to be capable of scoring from the penalty spot, when called upon. Saka was the most prolific in practice. So confident was his manager, that he placed him fifth in the list of penalty takers, with Harry Kane going first. At that stage of a shootout, the kick is guaranteed to be decisive, so Saka must have known what he would be facing.

Of course, you cannot reproduce the tension of the big occasion in practice, but a familiar routine should give you a better chance. We have seen many times, however, that the best kickers have failed on the big occasion, and there is no guarantee that Grealish, in Saka's place, would have found the net. He didn't miss because of his age, but it may have been down to his experience.

It was always going to be an extremely tight contest. Ten penalties were taken, and only half of them were scored. At this stage of a major tournament, to succeed you have to relish the occasion. Italy were far more used to this situation, even if each individual player wasn't. The vastly experienced centre-back pairing of Bonucci and captain, Chiellini had 221 appearances between them. They had seen it all, and they both exuded confidence and a steely determination that they would not be beaten, no matter what. As the spine of the team, this is extremely infectious. England had to match that, and to be fair, they almost did. Each player knew that it wasn't enough to get to the final, they had to make the most of the opportunity.

If we consider that Pickford and Donnarumma each made two saves, then it would leave us to conclude that Marcus Rashford's kick was the difference between the teams. The Manchester United man was extremely unlucky. Although only 22 years old, Gianluigi Donnarumma was an intimidating character in a penalty shootout, not least because of his height of six feet and five inches. That in itself, would not make him an expert penalty stopper, but it seems to instill a fear in penalty takers that leads to them feeling that they have to be deadly accurate to beat him. As many kicks seem to hit the woodwork or are blazed over the bar, as saved by him. So it was with Rashford. His elaborate side-steps, followed by a slow approach left Donnarumma with no clue as to which way the ball was going to go. The goalkeeper got it wrong, but Rashford, in trying to be too precise, hit the post. It is conceivable that if he had placed his kick, just a few inches to the right, then England would be European Champions.

Just as Pirlo's kick in 2012 had swung that shootout in Italy's favour, so Rashford's miss also did. Bernardeschi seized the opportunity to put Italy in front again. If Rashford had scored, at 3-2, there would have been more pressure on Bernardeschi to keep Italy in it, and Sancho would possibly have been more confident with his kick. Sancho's strategy, like Rashford's, was to confuse Donnarumma with a short run-up, but the goalkeeper, this time, correctly guessed which way the ball was going to go, and because of the short run-up, Sancho didn't get enough power into it to beat him.

At that point, the chances of Jorginho not repeating his shootout winner of five nights earlier, were extremely remote, but Jordan Pickford pulled off an amazing reflex save to keep England in it, heartbreakingly, for just 45 seconds. If England had won the shootout, surely Pickford's save, at the very least, would rank alongside Gordon Banks's 1970 save from Pelé

Saka, also seemed to try to not give away his intentions, by running up and down on the spot, but his eventual kick was weak and Donnarumma made a comfortable save, and without even realising that it had won them the title until he was engulfed by his celebrating team-mates.

In hindsight, always a wonderful thing, England were lacking in experience when it came to the finishing line. Intimidation and confidence were a major factor in deciding whose name was inscribed on the Henri Delaunay Trophy. Italy had used it to great effect against Spain, when they themselves were inferior on the night, and they just had that tiny bit extra, plus a little luck when it came to the final.

No blame should be laid at the feet of any of the England squad or management. They took us to a level that we'd only previously dreamed about. The silver polish was close enough to smell, but we have to take heart from the fact that Italy have been there many times. They have had their own share of agonising defeats at the final hurdle, particularly in 1994 and 2000. Only these kinds of experiences can prepare players and coaches to handle them the next time that they come around and to make sure that the same mistakes are not made. The rarified atmosphere of major international finals breeds a special kind of footballer. England's young squad have now sampled that atmosphere. As long as they can climb back up to the summit, they will be better prepared and ready to adapt to whatever the game throws at them.