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England’s 5 biggest penalty fails ever

The sight of England trooping off the field after Alessandro Diamanti’s penalty sent Joe Hart the wrong way to clinch a place in the Euro 2012 semi finals was a depressingly familiar sight.

The penalty shootout has been a curse that England have struggled with for 22 years now, and seems to grip whichever squad manages to get through to a knockout stage.

While England can at least claim to have overachieved in reaching the quarters at the Euros, questions remain over whether they have the ability to take risks, and more importantly, hold onto the ball, in future tournaments.

Looking back over England’s ignominious history of penalty shoot outs, perhaps the only praise that the team can receive in going out to a spot kick is that they’re usually consistent.

And if not, failing to qualify for major tournaments, or getting out of the group stage, and being beaten by Brazil in 2002, or Germany in 2010 means that penalties show England’s resilience to get to them at all. From Italia ‘90 to Euro 2008, some of England’s worst penalty fails have included:

5 - 2006 World Cup, Portugal

The 2006 World Cup in Germany was supposed to be the breakthrough for Sven Goran Eriksson’s nearly men, or the ‘Golden Generation’ of Premier League players, which included David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, and Micheal Owen.

Instead, England navigated their group and the second round to set up a quarter final clash with Portugal, who had knocked them out of the Euros in 2004. After a goalless draw, Frank Lampard (pictured), Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher missed their penalties, leaving Cristiano Ronaldo to deliver the final blow to England’s World Cup hopes.

4 - 1998 World Cup, Argentina

For a brief period between Euro 96 and Euro 2000, England were moderately more of an exciting team than their current version. Under Terry Venables, Glenn Hoddle and Kevin Keegan, they at least the advantage of a side containing a young Beckham and a teenage Owen who looked like one of the most promising strikers in the world.

In the France hosted World Cup of 1998, Hoddle’s England reached the second round with no real dangers, only to be drawn into a bruising encounter with Argentina. Owen scored a brilliant goal from a supercharged run, and Beckham was sent off for a petulant kick. In the shootout, Paul Ince and David Batty missed their spot kicks to pile on the misery.

3 - Euro 2004, Portugal

Portugal joined Germany and Argentina as England’s regular nemeses in the 2000s, and in 2004 Portugal, hosting the tournament, edged out the English in the quarter finals.

Despite the presence of a young Wayne Rooney, England couldn’t find the goal to push past Portugal in extra time. A tense penalty shootout was decided by Darius Vassell’s miss to send England out.

2 - 1990 World Cup, West Germany

The World Cup of 1990 was memorable for England, a tournament where, for a few brief games, the side looked to have edged their way into an improbable final. Having built up momentum during an edgy tournament, England scrapped their way through a tense encounter with West Germany.

In the shootout, Gary Lineker, Peter Beardsley and David Platt scored, only for Germany to hold their nerve, and Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle to miss. The tournament that defined England’s poor relationship to penalties, and the closest England have been to the World Cup final since 1966.

1 - Euro 96, Germany

1996 was a particularly painful exit for Terry Venables’ England. Hosting the tournament, England produced perhaps their best overall performance since 1966, which included a demolition of Holland, and a penalty win over Spain in the quarter finals.

Up against old foes Germany in the semis, England missed a host of narrow chances, and found themselves again facing spotkicks. David Seaman saved, but Germany held on for Gareth Southgate to miss and put the Germans through to a final against the Czech Republic, which they duly won.

By Rob James

Rob James is a football fanatic working in conjunction with

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