Belfast Telegraph

England boss Gareth Southgate eyes World Cup penalty perfection

Southgate says the knockout phase is all about fine margins.

Gareth Southgate says England have been practising, studying and developing strategies for penalty shoot-outs since March.

The Three Lions will head to Moscow to take on Colombia next Tuesday in a last-16 World Cup clash that offers England the chance to win a first knockout match since 2006.

England may have to go the distance against the South Americans, meaning their vulnerability from the spot could become clear once more.

The senior team have lost six of their seven penalty shoot-outs at major tournaments – a statistic manager Southgate knows all too well about, having missed his spot-kick in the Euro 96 semi-final against Germany.

But the former defender is determined his England side will be better prepared as they prepare for the World Cup knockout phase.

“In terms of penalties, we’ve been practising and going through strategies on them since March,” Southgate said after Thursday’s 1-0 group-stage defeat to Belgium.

“We’ve done various different studies and had individual practice.

“We’ll obviously go through that in a little more detail now, but it would have been too late to start that now, three days away from a game.

“We are aware the margins are going to be really fine in these knockout phases, and we have got to be prepared physically to go to extra-time if needed, mentally to go to extra-time – and to go beyond that if that’s what it takes.”

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