The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters


England football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters

England will face the Netherlands in the last four after winning on penalties – Getty Images/Adrian Dennis

A rare treat to be looking back at an England penalty shoot-out with positive rather than grief-stricken memories.

There were so many scars inflicted via this method from 1990 to 2012 that eventually they stopped registering as particularly painful. Try telling me that Andrea Pirlo’s Panenka hurt as much as Chris Waddle’s suborbital space launch.

Now England are becoming a team who enter penalties with the expectation of victory. Three won from four attempts now under Gareth Southgate, England’s most unfairly maligned public figure since James Blunt.

Yes, we are counting the Nations League semi-final against Switzerland. With England’s record you take every win you can. Switzerland now must regard England with the same awe and fear that England used to reserve for Germany.

What can we glean from the best pictures from the Dusseldorf penalties?

England football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monstersEngland football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters

England football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters

Tradition be damned, no arms around shoulders, no performative shows of unity, just a nice group of boys choosing their own path. Luke Shaw (3) and Declan Rice (4) adopt a wide-legged power stance, Ivan Toney (17) aims for similar but clearly needs another private tuition session with Sajid Javid. Trent Alexander-Arnold (8) undermines his attempt slightly by becoming very interested in the paintwork of the halfway line.

Jude Bellingham (10) plays it cool, cruising in neutral, Eberechi Eze (21) has ensconced himself in a private contemplation zone while John Stones (5) prefers to adopt a quarterback’s stance in case Bukayo Saka snaps the ball to him from the penalty spot.

Best in class is Cole Palmer (24) who looks like he is being told off for chewing by a supply teacher he does not respect. Worst is veteran Kyle Walker (2), who has come down with the classic tense, nervous headache at the worst possible time.


England Football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monstersEngland Football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters

England Football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters

Tradition be not damned, here is your arms around shoulder performative show of unity. Mostly England are #owningthebodylaunguage, a hashtag which is almost certainly on one of the PowerPoint’s they have sat through in preparation for this moment. Only Walker really letting the side down, he looks to be regarding the shootout with a mix of disgust and mistrust.


England football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monstersEngland football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters

England football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters

When England go through their shoot-out behaviour on Monday with the analyst, the assistant analyst, the assistant to the analyst, the sport psychologist, the faith healer and for some reason Tom Heaton they will be asked what the problem is with this picture. Again, Kyle, you’ve got to exude more confidence in these moments. Have a paracetamol next time, or six more energy drinks.


England football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monstersEngland football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters

England football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters

Meanwhile, the banished on the bench, who stayed well clear of the pre-penalties meeting but have nevertheless had time to rehearse their routine too. Note Kieran Trippier closest to the camera, who is about to begin the Mexican wave.


England football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monstersEngland football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters

England football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters

Hooray! England have done it! Predictable joy and delight from the majority of the group but please note Shaw who keeps his initial celebration to a fist-clench and goes straight to shake hands with the Switzerland team. Saka took a moment for a private prayer before joining the mob. No stopping Declan Rice though who looks simultaneously delighted to have won and not to have needed to take a penalty.


England football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monstersEngland football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters

England football team – The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters

Elation. Laughter. Running. All the good stuff.


England celebrate – The pictures that show England have become penalty monstersEngland celebrate – The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters

England celebrate – The pictures that show England have become penalty monsters

See, England can move forward at speed as a unit. Admittedly with one member of the team kneeling down, another more interested in making friends with the opposition and Stones celebrating like he’s just been told by Andi Peters that he’s won this week’s competition on Live & Kicking.


England players celebrate after winning the penalty shootout of the UEFA EURO 2024 quarter-finals soccer match between England and Switzerland, in Dusseldorf, Germany, 06 July 2024. UEFA EURO 2024 quarter-finals - England vs SwitzerlandEngland players celebrate after winning the penalty shootout of the UEFA EURO 2024 quarter-finals soccer match between England and Switzerland, in Dusseldorf, Germany, 06 July 2024. UEFA EURO 2024 quarter-finals - England vs Switzerland

England players celebrate after winning the penalty shootout of the UEFA EURO 2024 quarter-finals soccer match between England and Switzerland, in Dusseldorf, Germany, 06 July 2024. UEFA EURO 2024 quarter-finals – England vs Switzerland

Remember when this only used to happen to other countries? Try to keep that in mind during the inevitably trying moments against the Netherlands on Wednesday.

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