|England Euro 2012 team - image by Michael Regan - The FA|
It’s knockout time. And coach Hogson believes it could be shoot-out time for England against Italy in their Quarter final clash!
Hodgson’s predecessors have unsuccessfully travelled this path before and only ended up tumbling out of tournaments. Bobby Robson, Glenn Hoddle and Sven-Goran Eriksson have all suffered such fates. Terry Venables negotiated one but perished four days later.
Hodgson understands the phobia of being placed on the spot.
In his words:
“It’s because we’ve lost important matches on penalties so it’s going to be that way.’’
“When you are working with the England national team, the past is always going to weigh heavily. Everything we do today is compared with something that happened in the past.”
“Unfortunately we have lost two very, very important semi-finals on penalties,’’ Hodgson said, “so I presume that’s going to be there during all my time as national coach. Probably when a national coach comes 20 years hence he will be asked the same question as well.’’
“We have used the time after training sessions to regularly practise,’’ Hodgson said.
Hoddle famously, arguably infamously, resisted the chance to practise penalties regularly as he claimed it was impossible to replicate the nerve-shredding walk from the halfway line. What happened next?
England lost to Argentina at France 98.
Eriksson controversially turned down the FA-organised chance to stage a shoot-out at the end of their pre-World Cup 2006 friendly with Jamaica at Old Trafford. What happened next?
England left Germany prematurely because of a failure from the spot.
Brian Barwick, the English FA’s chief executive, left the building in 2008 he made a speech to staff and board members during which he reflected on his singular habit of chewing on biros, occasionally ruining shirts.
So to learn that England have been rehearsing their 12-yard techniques was encouraging.
The penalty-taking record of Steven Gerrard, England’s captain, was so abysmal at one point in his Liverpool career that he considered never taking another. He missed four of his first nine for Liverpool, but has converted 22 of his past 25. He also erred in the 2006 World Cup.
John Terry, who converted in Portugal 2004, missed in the shoot-out against Rooney’s United in 2008 but he is expected to take one here.
Depending on line-up and substitutions, England would look for a shoot-out front five of Gerrard, Rooney, Cole, Terry and the confident Hart. Next up would be Scott Parker, Milner, Welbeck (if picked ahead of Andy Carroll) and Young. Managers must adapt to changing situations.
Hodgson appears like he knows how pressure can mount...he continued:
“I’ve done it with Italians as well, so I’m quite good at it,’’ smiled the former Inter Milan coach, who beat Sturm Graz on penalties.