England finally broke their penalty shootout hoodoo in 2018 when they beat Colombia from the spot
Credit: Matthias Hangst /Getty Images
England have been preparing for their next major tournament penalty shootout for the past three years with assistant manager Steve Holland keeping a league table of the country’s takers.
Gareth Southgate’s men broke the nation’s penalty hoodoo in the last World Cup in 2018 by winning a shootout against Colombia and each England squad have practiced their spot-kicks at every camp since.
It is understood Holland keeps a running score of England’s penalty takers which will be used to help decide the line-up in the eventuality of a penalty shootout at the European Championships.
Holland should have a 26-man penalty league table of England’s current squad, as they kick-off their tournament campaign against Croatia on Sunday at Wembley.
Captain Harry Kane is England’s penalty taker with Marcus Rashford his deputy, but Southgate and Holland can look at their data to decide who else should step up if the team are involved in another shootout this summer.
Captain Harry Kane is England's primary penalty taker
Credit: Nick Potts /PA
The long-running and meticulous preparation helps to explain why Southgate was so angry that Jordan Henderson broke protocol to take a penalty off Dominic Calvert-Lewin in England’s final warm-up game.
Henderson missed against Romania, as he did at the last World Cup against Colombia, which means he is unlikely to take another one unless a shootout goes down to the wire.
Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford scored in England’s last penalty shootout success in the Nations League against Switzerland two years ago, although substitutions had promoted him into the top five takers.
Kieran Trippier successfully scored from the spot at the last World Cup, but Eric Dier, who netted the winning penalty against Colombia, is no longer in the England squad. Calvert-Lewin had been in line to take the penalty that Henderson missed last weekend, while Mason Mount scored from the spot for Chelsea this season and Declan Rice scored one and missed one for West Ham United.
Rice has revealed that he initially feared he could be ruled out of the Euros, when he suffered a knee injury in England’s victory over Poland in March.
Eric Dier struck the winning penalty in the 2018 World Cup shootout against Colombia
Credit: FRANCISCO LEONG /AFP
“It was crazy how it happened,” said Rice, who also revealed he has never once drunk beer. “I did it in the 60th minute and played the rest of the game, but my knee was feeling unstable. It wasn’t right, it would keep moving. I was thinking ‘this ain’t right’.
“After the game I mentioned it to the doc and it seemed like nothing, it was strange. When I got home I texted the West Ham doctor and said ‘this isn’t right’. I’m a bit of a worrier. He sent me for a scan and it came back when I was on my way home. I got the call from the physio saying I ruptured my LCL (lateral collateral ligament) and straight away I asked how long that would be. ‘Am I going to miss the Euros? Am I going to miss the end of the season?’
“They said they couldn’t put a time frame on it. They said it could be 10 to 12 weeks and they didn’t know if it needed surgery. I’m thinking ‘oh’. The first person I called was my dad and then Mark Noble, to say ‘I think I’m done’. He always gives me good advice and calms me down.
“Once we saw the knee specialist he gave me full belief I could be back and then as soon as I started my rehab it was six weeks, no days off, in every day and really smashed it out. I was back running in four weeks, it could have been three but I didn’t want to push.
“Then I was back training with the team, but it was more the fitness side of it. Getting back up and running, then I played three games in seven days after six weeks out at the end of the season. So that was tough, but now my knee feels really good and strong. I’ve done everything right, which gives me the best chance to perform.”
Rice watched the 2018 World Cup in a Dubai fanzone, but did not drench himself in beer during any of the celebrations.
“Do you know what? Until this day I have never had a beer and I am 22! That is the truth. Never had a pint. Don’t drink it. I will give it a try if we win the Euros, but I will probably spit it out!”