25 years ago Southgate made England miserable. Even the Prime Minister consoled him


Before the Eng­land-Ger­many match, we remem­bered the sto­ry of that very penal­ty miss.

Europe cham­pi­onship. 1/8 finals

June 29, 19:00. Wem­b­ley (Lon­don)

Eng­land

2:0

Ger­many

Gareth Southgate and Harry Kane. Zero degrees South­gate. Why Eng­land are the sad­dest team in the Euro 2020 group stage

It’s been 25 years, and Eng­land coach Gareth South­gate is, for many fans, the same guy who missed a penal­ty against the Ger­mans in the Euro 1996 semi-finals, caus­ing the Three Lions to crash out. That Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship is spe­cial for the British, who still remem­ber this tour­na­ment with warmth and nos­tal­gia. Leg­endary song Foot­ball Com­ing Home (“Foot­ball Comes Home”), which fans still sing, Paul Gascoigne’s goal for the Scots, the gen­er­al atmos­phere of cel­e­bra­tion in a coun­try recov­er­ing from the harsh decade of Thatch­erism…





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Eng­land and the penal­ty shootout are a long his­to­ry of pain and dis­ap­point­ment, dat­ing back to the 1990 World Cup semi-final against Ger­many. At Euro 1996, by the way, there was a moment of enlight­en­ment — in the quar­ter­fi­nals, the hosts beat Spain in the 11-meter series. By the way, there was a beau­ti­ful sto­ry — Stu­art Pearce, nick­named Psy­cho, was the third to beat the Eng­lish. At the 1990 World Cup, he also bat­ted third and didn’t score—the miss was deci­sive. This time Pierce con­vert­ed his attempt, closed the gestalt, and Eng­land again advanced to Ger­many in the semi-finals.

At Wem­b­ley, the moti­vat­ed hosts imme­di­ate­ly went on the attack, and in the 3rd minute Alan Shear­er opened the scor­ing after Tony Adams’ dis­count. The Ger­mans bounced back quite quick­ly — Ste­fan Kunz blocked Thomas Helmer’s cross. Sub­se­quent­ly, the teams were clos­er to send­ing one of their oppo­nents to the hos­pi­tal than to scor­ing the win­ning goal — sev­er­al moments of that game would have end­ed in dele­tions in the VAR era.

The same penalty.  Photo by Getty Images
The same penal­ty.

Harry Kane. Eng­land almost always lose to Ger­many in the play-offs. What will hap­pen this time?

It was at Euro 1996 that the gold­en goal rule was in effect for the first time, but the teams did not take advan­tage of it. The Eng­lish attacked more dan­ger­ous­ly: Dar­ren Ander­ton hit the post, and Gas­coigne jumped just short of Shear­er’s cross. As a result, the Ger­mans will still become cham­pi­ons thanks to the inno­va­tion, but for now they were fac­ing a penal­ty shootout with Eng­land.

Ger­many goal­keep­er Andreas Köp­ke lat­er said that he was pre­pared for the penal­ty kick: “Of course, we were prepar­ing for a pos­si­ble penal­ty shootout, and I ana­lyzed poten­tial Eng­lish kick­ers with goal­keep­ing coach Sepp Maier.”

In fact, Kep­ke’s knowl­edge did­n’t help him much at first. The Eng­lish­men’s first five shots were per­fect, accord­ing to the Bun­des­tim goal­keep­er.

“The sixth shot from South­gate was the first one that went wrong and I was able to save it,” Koep­ke recalled.

For the Ger­mans, the sixth kick was per­formed by Andreas Möller. The Ger­man nation­al team mid­field­er, with­out fear, struck the cen­ter right under the bar.

22 June.  London.  Czech Republic —  England —  0:1.  12th minute.  Raheem Sterling (No. 10) opens the scoring. Eng­land is the sad­dest. She won the group, but may be elim­i­nat­ed by a top oppo­nent in the 1/8 finals

In 2018, South­gate said that he him­self vol­un­teered to take the penal­ty that fate­ful evening: “Yes, I was a vol­un­teer then. Although, of course, the ques­tion from head coach Ter­ry Ven­ables whether I was ready to hit sound­ed like a bolt from the blue. Before that, my career as a penal­ty tak­er was short: I only took one shot and missed while still play­ing for Crys­tal Palace.

“I’ve had over 20 years to think about it. I repeat, then I real­ly vol­un­teered myself. I felt that I had to do this — that’s my char­ac­ter. Per­haps refus­ing if you don’t have the nec­es­sary self-con­fi­dence is even a braver act than agree­ing. But back then, post-match penal­ties were quite rare. In the FA Cup, for exam­ple, there were replays. We didn’t have as much knowl­edge, as much ana­lyt­ics and infor­ma­tion as we have now,” con­tin­ued South­gate, who was con­soled after the match by then British Prime Min­is­ter John Major.

Gareth Southgate gets a consolation after missing a penalty.  Photo by Getty Images
Gareth South­gate gets a con­so­la­tion after miss­ing a penal­ty.

18 June.  London.  England —  Scotland —  0:0.  England striker Harry Kane. The exam­ple of Eng­land shows: the post-Covid sea­son has exhaust­ed all the favorites. The under­dogs have their best chances in years at this Euro

But out­ward­ly he looked con­fi­dent, and his team­mates did not doubt him. “Even know­ing every­thing I know now, I would still have giv­en him the ball then. I would still bet on him, I would still make this deci­sion. Ter­ry (Ven­ables, Eng­land head coach) Note “SE”) would also do exact­ly that, I’m sure,” said Mir­ror defense­man Tony Adams.

Since then, South­gate has gained the rep­u­ta­tion of the guy who “missed that penal­ty in 1996.” It’s fun­ny, but with South­gate as head coach, Eng­land final­ly won a penal­ty shootout — after elim­i­na­tions at the 1998 World Cup, Euro 2004, 2006 World Cup and Euro 2012: at the 2018 World Cup, the Three Lions team advanced to the 1/8 finals Colom­bia. But still, the ghost of that game will not go away — again, in fact, the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship at home for Eng­land, again at Wem­b­ley, again in the play­off match with Ger­many.

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And even Andreas Kep­ke is back in action — now he is the goal­keep­ing coach of the Ger­man nation­al team. There is no doubt that he will def­i­nite­ly pre­pare Manuel Neuer prop­er­ly. If at all you need to pre­pare for a penal­ty. He already has more than one win­ning series under his belt, he even took a shot and scored a penal­ty in the Cham­pi­ons League final with Chelsea in 2012.

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Post­ed by Die Mannschaft (@dfb_team)