Sports

England coach considers penalty shootout at friendly game

England's manager Gareth Southgate listens to the playing of the national anthem just prior to the start of the international friendly soccer match between England and Germany at Wembley stadium in London, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

England's manager Gareth Southgate listens to the playing of the national anthem just prior to the start of the international friendly soccer match between England and Germany at Wembley stadium in London, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

LONDON — England coach Gareth Southgate appreciates the penalty-shootout woes of his national team as well as anyone, and he's trying to do something about it before next year's World Cup.

Southgate has raised the prospect of putting England's players through a mock shootout at one of the team's friendlies ahead of the tournament in Russia.

"It's something that we are considering, how we prepare best for penalty shootouts," Southgate said.

"Whether that's something on the training ground, whether that's in sessions we do away from the training ground or something we do in some sort of match scenario, we've not finalized things like that yet. But clearly that (match situation) is an option."

England has lost six of seven penalty shootouts since 1990 at either a World Cup or a European Championship. Southgate's failure from the spot eliminated England at the semifinal stage of Euro 1996.

After the match against Brazil on Tuesday, England has friendlies lined up against Italy and the Netherlands in March. The team is set to play two more friendlies before the World Cup.

When pressed for his thoughts on why England's record in shootouts was so poor, Southgate said the problem had been players' failure "to execute a technique under pressure."

"We had players who were regular penalty-takers and who executed their penalties brilliantly in the quarterfinals and semifinals," Southgate said Monday. "So it tends to be the guys that aren't used to being in that situation with their club, who have to have strategy for dealing with it.

"Clearly it's something we are looking at very closely. We have to have a plan for that. Also we have to be good enough to get to that stage: It's not penalties that have knocked us out of the last two tournaments."

England was eliminated in the group stage of the World Cup in 2014, and lost to Iceland 2-1 in the last 16 of Euro 2016.

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