England’s Sporting Failures

England have done it again, just like in 1996, they have crashed out of a major tournament on penalties.

There were two moments of hope for the English when Luke Shaw gave them the lead and Jordan Pickford saved Belotti’s penalty in the shootout.

But it was always headed towards heartbreak for Gareth Southgate and company with three unsuccessful attempts crowning Italy as European champions.

It was not coming home was it Leonardo?

It is just another line to add to a long and tortured sporting history in the motherland.

Where does this one rank?

Impossible to say, but let’s run through them all in detail and try to work it out.


1990 World Cup Semi Final

England really chanced their luck during the 1990 World Cup, needing extra time to get by Belgium and Cameroon.

Then came a Semi Final against West Germany.

Gary Lineker equalised 10 minutes from full time and you could have forgiven them for thinking things were going their way.

It came down to a shootout and the Germans were their ruthless selves, scoring their first three attempts, as did England.

Stuart Pearce stepped up to the spot and was unsuccessful and Olaf Thon gave the Germans the advantage.

Chris Waddle had the do or die strike and the ball was blazed over the bar.

Good thing this trend didn’t continue or anything…

Euro 1996 Semi Final

Now manager of the English team, Gareth Southgate had a night to forget when England took on Germany in Euro 1996.

Confidence would have been high in the English camp having won their Quarter Final over Spain however it was a very different story here.

All 11 players before Southgate successfully converted

His saved penalty in the shootout knocked the English out of the tournament.

1998 World Cup Round of 16

David Beckham kicked Diego Simeone and was sent off.

David Batty kicked the ball and had it saved.

Not a great day to be named David… or be English in any way shape or form.

2003 International Friendly

Just a reminder that Australia gave England a footballing lesson back in 2003.

Harry Kewell was almost deported after scoring in this one.

Euro 2004 Quarter Final

David Beckham at international tournaments reared his ugly head again sending his penalty flying when England and Portugal went to a shootout.

He was not alone however with Darius Vassell having his effort saved by a gloveless Ricardo, who then buried his next attempt to win the match for Portugal.

2006 World Cup Quarter Final

Two years later, same outcome, England lost to Portugal on penalties, this time though it was after a scoreless 120 minutes.

Wayne Rooney was sent off after an hour and England held on, but it was the same story in the shootout with Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher all failed to convert from the spot.

Perhaps fittingly, Cristiano Ronaldo was the one to sink the final dagger into the English body.

Euro 2012

It was the two Ashleys who were unsuccessful from the spot, handing the Italians a massive advantage after Rocardo Montolivo did not score in the second round of the shootout.

What most will remember from this shootout though is Pirlo’s Panenka after he decided that Joe Hart was too confident.

Euro 2016

It’s fair to say England as a nation was fairly confident heading into their Euros matchup with lowly Iceland.

Some would say they were a little too confident.

It finished 2-1 to Iceland.

Seriously, Iceland…


2006 Ashes

You know things are not going your way when this happens on the first delivery of the series in Brisbane.

England would go on to lose the series 5-0 including losing the unlosable match in Adelaide.

Their Ashes defence did not go to plan at all.

Rugby Union

2019 Rugby World Cup

England had done all of the hard work in the Semi Final, defeating New Zealand in convincing fashion.

It was a defensive game with Owen Farrell and Handre Pollard trading penalties for an hour.

Then the English ran out of steam and somehow gave up two converted tries to lose by 20.

2015 Rugby World Cup

No host nation had failed to exit the pool stage at the Rugby World Cup.

Then came the 2015 English side who were determined to make history.

To their credit, they did, just not in the way they were hoping.

1995 Rugby World Cup

Remember when Jonah Lomu treated England (in particular Mike Catt) like a training dummy?

1991 Rugby World Cup

Home World Cup, make it to the Final, what could go wrong?

You could be playing Australia.

England Rugby League

Nothing specific here, just a reminder that the NRL is a much better competition than their Super League.

Oh and the Kangaroos tend to wipe the floor with the English as well.

Tim Henman

There’s no arguing against Tim Henman being one of the nicest guys in sport but he just couldn’t finish the job when it mattered most.

Six Grand Slam Semi Finals and many more years where the “pride of Britain” left those on Henman Hill feeling let down.

Perhaps he was playing the wrong sport.