Gareth Southgate: England are physically and mentally prepared for penalties

Gareth Southgate believes England are “mentally and physically” ready for another penalty shootout if Sunday’s World Cup last-16 clash against Senegal goes down to the wire.

The national team’s spot-kick issues are well documented, with all three World Cup shootouts ending in defeat before beating Colombia in the last 16 four years ago in Russia.

England followed that by winning bronze on spot-kicks at the Nations League finals against Switzerland in 2019, only for penalties to prove their undoing in last year’s European Championship final.

Colombia v England – FIFA World Cup 2018 – Round of 16 – Spartak Stadium
England beat Colombia on penalties in the last World Cup (Adam Davy/PA)

Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka failed with their attempts in a heartbreaking loss that Southgate is confident they have learned from ahead of the World Cup knockout phase getting under way in Qatar.

“Well, like every other aspect of our game, we’re prepared and we’ve had a process that we’ve followed,” said the England boss, who missed his penalty in the Euro 96 semi-final defeat to Germany.

“We’ve had three shoot-outs, we’ve won two, so inevitably the one that you don’t get over the line you reflect and you think about how you can improve those processes.

England World Cup Squad announcement
England suffered penalty woe against Italy in last year’s delayed European Championship (Nick Potts/PA)

“We’ve done that over the last few months, in particular, but of course, there is so many other aspects to the game that we’ve got to get right.

“We’re aiming to win the game and to avoid extra time if you can, and to avoid penalties if you can, because you’d like to get a victory in 90 minutes.

“But if we need to go 120 minutes, if we need to go beyond that, then we’ve got to be ready for that mentally and physically. And I believe we are.”