England and penalties traditionally do not mix. However, despite plenty of heartbreaks to cast your mind back to, there have also been a few moments of elation among them.
As England take on France this evening, Three Lions fans will be praying a shootout does not occur. England’s last international tournament, Euro 2020, ended in penalty heartbreak.
Gareth Southgate is no stranger to penalty woes as a player, either. He missed the crucial penalty that sent England crashing out of the Euros in 1996.
But, it hasn’t all been bad. Who could forget the epic penalty faceoff against Spain in 1996? Or, for younger audiences, the shootout win over Colombia in 2018?
We’ll be taking a look at England’s best and worst moments in penalty shootouts. Spoiler alert – there is more bad than good!
England’s penalty shootout triumphs
England vs Colombia – World Cup 2018
England played Colombia in a feisty last 16 encounter at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. As the game ended 1-1, penalties ominously beckoned.
Despite a miss midway through the shootout by Jordan Henderson, England emerged victorious. It was the Three Lions’ first penalty shootout win in 22 years.
England vs Spain – Euro 1996
Euro 1996 marked England’s first ever penalty shootout win, as they squared off against Spain. Although they would fall foul of the stipulation later in the tournament, this was a moment to savour.
England were composed and confident with their penalties, scoring all four of them. Spain’s last penalty, taken by Miguel Angel Nadal, was saved emphatically by David Seaman, sending England through to the semis.
It was this shootout that prompted Stuart Pearce’s infamous celebrations that encapsulated the relief of a nation.
England vs Switzerland – UEFA Nations League 2019
We’re reaching a little bit with this one. But, nonetheless, a win is a win when it comes to penalty shootouts.
Jordan Pickford was the hero here. All 11 penalties were expertly dispatched, until the Sunderland-born keeper made a great save to win third place in the Nations League for England.
England’s penalty shootout disasters
England vs Germany – Euro 1996
Despite their heroics against Spain, Terry Venables’ England could not repeat the feat against old enemy, Germany. They had been beaten in the same manner by the Germans in 1990 (then known as West Germany), also in a semi-final.
It was Gareth Southgate who faltered, as his teammates before him all scored their respective penalties. Germany, too, slotted all their penalties home – meaning England crashed out at Wembley.
England vs Portugal – World Cup 2006
In a controversial game featuring the infamous “Ronaldo wink”, it ended on a sour note as England were beaten on penalties. Wayne Rooney was sent off in the second half, but England hung on to a shootout.
Unfortunately, it was nothing short of calamitous. England missed three of their four penalties, with Cristiano Ronaldo dispatching the winning spot kick.
England vs Italy – Euro 2020
England vs Italy is the most recent entry on this list and was perhaps the most devastating. The Three Lions were just one penalty away from winning their first international trophy since 1966. Sadly, it wasn’t to be.
A spectacular save from Jordan Pickford to keep out Jorginho’s penalty kept England in it. However, a similarly fantastic save from Gianluigi Donnarumma, pawing away Bukayo Saka’s spot kick, won the game and the tournament for the Italians, breaking English hearts once again.