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Who Has The Best Penalty Record At The Euros?

June 03, 2016

- Grant Whittington

Another footballing tournament is right around the corner and although it will no doubt be filled with excitement and showcase the best international football talent that Europe can offer there’s also that dreaded flipside that some teams may end up facing…the penalty shoot-out. With Euro 2016 kicking off in just a week’s time we take a look at just who has the best penalty record at the tournament and who may be hoping to take full advantage if any of their games come right down to the wire. So what makes a team good at taking penalties? Is it really all down to luck or do mind games and confidence have a part to play?

It’s truly a heartbreaking way in which to lose any football match but when it all comes down to a set of nail-biting and arguably arbitrary kicks of the ball it can feel like ecstasy for the winners and absolutely devastation for the losers. There have been 4 teams in the history of the European competition that so far have had to face the torture of a penalty shoot-out no less than on 4 separate occasions and those teams are England, Holland, Spain and Italy. 

Both England and the Netherlands have been unfortunate to have lost 3 games each due to penalties. On two separate occasions in fact its cost the Netherlands a place in the final. England most notably have had to live with a run of bad luck in penalty situations for a number of years now which has almost become synonymous with the team. In 1996 on home soil England were able to convert a penalty situation into a win against Spain to reach the semi-finals of the competition. However in their next match against rivals Germany it was a penalty shoot-out that was their undoing and resulted in the host nation being knocked out of the contest.

Ironically this quarter-final match against England in 1996 is the only time that Spain has ever lost in a shoot-out at the Euros. Spain have had to endure a penalties at both their previous appearances at the 2008 and 2012 Euro competitions which they managed to win on both occasions leaving opponents Italy and Portugal beaten respectively, and interestingly enough the side went on to win the overall tournament in both those years. Whatever happens next month we’re bound to see a shoot-out or two which will no doubt be thrilling for the neutrals but unbearable for the fans involved.

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