England are practising penalties for the Qatar World Cup already


England are practising penalties ALREADY – with eight months to go until the World Cup in Qatar – as Gareth Southgate bids to rid his team of the shootout heartache they suffered in the final of Euro 2020 against Italy

  • Gareth Southgate has begun planning his World Cup penalty masterplan already
  • England want to avoid a repeat of the shootout heartache that ruined Euro 2020
  • Three Lions endured a woeful history in shootouts prior to Southgate’s reign 
  • But now he’s already preparing for spot kicks should they arrive in Qatar 

Gareth Southgate has started planning his World Cup penalty masterplan as England look to avoid a repeat of the shootout heartache that ruined last summer.

Three Lions boss Southgate confirmed that he and his staff have begun an inquest into the shootout loss in last year’s European Championship final against Italy and have already started practising spot-kicks – even though Qatar 2022 is still eight months away.

England endured a woeful history in shootouts prior to Southgate’s reign, but the manager has revolutionised how the national team approaches spot-kick competitions.

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England boss Gareth Southgate has already started planning his World Cup penalty tactics

England suffered a shootout loss in last year's European Championship final against Italy

England suffered a shootout loss in last year’s European Championship final against Italy

The team have won two of the three shootouts they have featured in under Southgate, but the loss to Italy last summer still haunts them.

Southgate said: ‘We have gone into various details with the players of what we can improve upon to be world champions.

‘Penalties have been part of that. What is apparent in terms of regular penalty-takers for their club, we really only have Harry Kane and James Ward-Prowse.

‘In terms of number of penalties, Marcus Rashford would have been the second highest but Bruno Fernandes is Manchester United’s normal penalty-taker and when we played Italy, their top five had taken more than 40 penalties in competitive matches.

‘Kane is at that level and Marcus is next at 20. So we will have to view that differently from just accepting “they are going to get practice at their clubs and they will be able to come in” and that is the challenge we have set. 

Marcus Rashford (pictured), Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho all missed their crucial spot kicks

Marcus Rashford (pictured), Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho all missed their crucial spot kicks

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Harry Kane and James Ward-Prowse are England's only regular penalty takers at club level

Harry Kane and James Ward-Prowse are England’s only regular penalty takers at club level

‘Yes, it feels maybe a bit early to do that but essentially if you take match days out and the day after a match, you are talking about 20 training days between now and that situation happening in a knockout stage.’

Southgate is set to make wholesale changes for Tuesday night’s clash against Ivory Coast at Wembley from the side who started the win over Switzerland on Saturday. 

Nick Pope is set to replace Jordan Pickford in goal, and Harry Maguire and Tyrone Mings should start in the heart of England’s defence. 

Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham and Raheem Sterling are also set to return to the starting XI.

John Stones has left the squad as a precaution after pulling out of the Switzerland friendly just before kick-off with injury.

Meanwhile, Southgate’s opposite number on Tuesday night Patrice Beaumelle said he will continue pushing for Marc Guehi to switch allegiances to Ivory Coast, despite the Crystal Palace defender making his England debut on Saturday.

‘I have been following Marc for two years, since he was playing at Swansea,’ said Beaumelle. ‘I know he can still choose Ivory Coast, so we are working on that.’

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