England and elimination by penalty kick shootout are two things which go together like spaghetti and meatballs.
Most everyone will already be well aware of the Three Lions’ aversion to penalty kick shootouts, but for the uninitiated among us, here are the numbers: of the 14 major international tournaments (World Cups and European Championships) since (and including) the 1990 World Cup, England have qualified for 12 of them (six of each); six of the 12 tournaments resulted in elimination via shootout; and only one of the 12 — EURO 1996 — saw England win an elimination game via kicks from the spot.
Again, that’s one win and six defeats.
Gareth Southgate, England’s current manager, is well aware of that history, both as a player — he was a member of the England team at the 1998 World Cup, and again at EURO 1996, when it was Southgate who missed the decisive sixth penalty in the semifinals against Germany — and the boss of a side which might just face the same daunting task at next summer’s 2018 World Cup.
Unsurprisingly, the 47-year-old has already put plenty of thought into preparing for a shootout. In fact, there’s a decent chance that one of England’s pre-World Cup friendlies will feature a mock shootout. There’s a 50-50 chance it’ll come in handy, after all — quotes from the Guardian:
“It’s something that we are considering — how we prepare best for penalty shootouts. Whether that’s something on the training ground, whether that’s in sessions we do away from the training ground, or something we do in some sort of match scenario. We’ve not finalized that yet but clearly that [match situation] is an option.”