Ever wondered why the Germans, and virtually everyone else, can beat England on penalties in the big tournaments?
An answer is consistent across all top level professional sport, whether darts, golf, rugby, tennis and football – it’s all about sustaining perfect technique under intense pressure. Finishes on a double every time in practice; down the plug in the darts league? Great range swing; in the water on 18th? Big ace when it doesn't matter; double-fault on match point? Getting the drift?
The unspoken truth is that the same low skill level of our home grown players, the one which means we can't keep the ball for more than 5 passes, also applies to our penalty taking. Under severe pressure, it’s the fissures in our skill-level which reveal a chasm in class.
So, until we excel at the basics like Spain or Brazil, we can kiss winning a World Cup shoot-out goodbye.