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Why can’t England beat Germany at penalties?

Frank Monkhouse | 29 June 2017

U21s beaten in another shoot-out

England were knocked out of the U21 European Championships on Tuesday by Germany – you guessed it, on penalties. Following a 2-2 draw, the lion cubs suffered the agony of a 4-3 loss from the spot.

We really should’ve saw it coming too. England were far from convincing in the run-up, but more than held their own during the 90 minutes, and looked, at times, capable of booking a place in the final. The pair couldn’t be separated, paving the way for yet another gripping shoot-out between the bitter rivals.

A capable England crumble under pressure

Now that the dust has settled, plenty of positives can be taken from the campaign. Following the U20 team winning the World Cup recently, there’s a real buzz back about English football, and the senior side look to be well on their way to another major finals. The U21s matched their opponents in normal time, fighting back from a goal down to go 2-1 up, thanks to strikes from Gray and Abraham, before conceding a late equaliser.

So, why can’t England beat Germany at penalties? It certainly wasn’t for a lack of preparation. Boss Aidy Boothroyd told the press his boys practiced and practiced and practiced penalties in the run-up to the match, knowing the fixture’s history. Despite shaping well on the training pitch, Tammy Abraham and Nathan Redmond both fluffed their lines, joining a club no one wants to be part of. Two men you’d fancy to do a job too.

Lack of confidence is glaringly obvious

Is it a mental thing in the England camp? Are they still struggling to get over previous losses to Germany from the spot? Perhaps it’s because, by now, sides are almost expecting to lose when going into that situation against the Germans. They’re certainly reminded enough by the press of past failings. Fans are guilty of it too. Hands up who, before kick-off, thought England would go out on penalties? If the sides were to line up again, would you back the Three Lions to gain revenge?

England couldn’t have hoped for a better man between the sticks at this level, but Jordan Pickford, Britain’s most expensive goalkeeper ever, was powerless to stop the rot. The goalie did his bit, saving from Gerhardt, but he couldn’t do it all. Watch the penalty shoot-out below, and the lack of confidence in some is glaringly obvious.

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