Belfast Telegraph

There may be trouble ahead – England’s woeful knockout record

Three Lions have often failed to deliver when it matters.

England will face Colombia in the last 16 of the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday having not won a knockout match at a major finals since beating Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the dismal failures the team have endured since.

2006 – England pay the penalty against Portugal

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England players look dejected after a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty put them out of the 2006 World Cup (Nick Potts/PA)

The win over Ecuador set up a World Cup quarter-final clash with Portugal, who had knocked England out of the European Championship on penalties two years previously.

History repeated itself in Gelsenkirchen in a match best remembered for Wayne Rooney’s red card and Cristiano Ronaldo winking to the Portuguese bench after he had alerted the referee to his Manchester United team-mate’s stamp on Ricardo Carvalho.

A goalless 120 minutes meant another shoot-out for Sven-Goran Eriksson’s team, and missed spot-kicks from Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher allowed Ronaldo to apply the killer blow to England’s so-called ‘Golden Generation’.

2010 – Battered and bruised in Bloemfontein

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Frank Lampard cannot believe it after his clear goal against Germany is not given (Owen Humphreys/PA)

England failed to even qualify for Euro 2008 under Steve McClaren but returned to the World Cup in 2010 in South Africa under Fabio Capello. They could only finish second in a group famously described as ‘EASY’ by one tabloid newspaper which meant a last-16 encounter with Germany.

They were denied an equaliser just before half-time when Lampard’s effort clearly crossed the line – prompting FIFA to finally see the light on goal-line technology – but in truth Germany tore England apart and were worthy 4-1 winners.

2012 – More penalty pain

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England players try to console Ashley Cole and Ashley Young after they fail to convert in the shoot-out (Anthony Devlin/PA)

England’s build-up to Euro 2012 was hugely disturbed by Capello’s shock resignation over the Football Association’s decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy. Under Roy Hodgson, the team got out of their group but came up short in a quarter-final against Italy in Kiev.

Supporters were fearing the worst when the match went to penalties, and sure enough England’s abysmal record in shoot-outs continued as Ashley Young struck the bar and Ashley Cole’s kick was saved by Gianluigi Buffon.

2016 – England freeze against Iceland

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England goalkeeper Joe Hart, left, Dele Alli, centre, and Gary Cahill look dejected after the final whistle in Nice (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Hodgson’s team failed to reach the knockout phase of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but did qualify for the last 16 of the Euros, where they faced tournament debutants Iceland in Nice.

The night got off to a perfect start when Raheem Sterling was brought down in the box and Rooney put England ahead with a fourth-minute penalty. But it all fell apart in spectacular fashion two minutes later as one of Aron Gunnarsson’s trademark long throws caused chaos in the England defence and Ragnar Sigurdsson got on the end of it to score.

Kolbeinn Sigthorsson put Iceland ahead in the 18th minute after England’s defenders stood off him, with Joe Hart also culpable for failing to make a routine save. There was still plenty of time for England to respond, but the players looked devoid of ideas and paralysed by fear. Hodgson resigned immediately afterwards.

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