'England U21s prepared for penalties'

England players react

England’s penalty shootout defeat by Germany in the semi-finals of the European Under-21 Championship was not the result a lack of preparation, says boss Aidy Boothroyd.

Germany won 4-3 on penalties in Poland as England’s Tammy Abraham and Nathan Redmond had spot-kicks saved.

The game finished 2-2 in normal time, with no further goals in extra time.

“We have practised and practised and practised penalties,” Boothroyd told BBC Radio 5 live.

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England’s senior side have lost six of the seven penalty shootouts they have been involved in at major competitions.

Two of those defeats came in semi-finals against Germany – at the 1990 World Cup and the 1996 European Championship.

England’s shootout defeats at major tournaments
1990 World Cup semi-final – lost 4-3 to Germany 2004 Euro quarter-final – lost to Portugal 6-5
1996 Euro semi-final – lost 6-5 to Germany 2006 World Cup quarter-final – lost to Portugal 3-1
1998 World Cup last 16 – Lost 4-3 to Argentina 2012 Euro quarter-final – lost to Italy 4-2

Earlier this summer, England’s Under-17s lost 4-1 on penalties to Spain in the final of the European Championship.

Asked why England teams struggle with spot-kicks, Boothroyd said: “I have no idea. We’ve looked at good practice, bad practice, the speed penalties are taken at – we’ve gone through it all.

“In the end, their goalkeeper makes two good saves from guys that usually put them in with their eyes closed.”

Optimism after a summer of success

This has been a successful summer for England’s youth teams, with the under-20s winning their age group’s World Cup, the under-17s reaching the European final and a squad made up predominantly of under-18s players winning the Toulon Tournament.

“There’s plenty to be optimistic about,” said former Coventry boss Boothroyd.

“We’ve reached a semi-final, won the World Cup with the under-20s, the under-17s did ever so well getting to a final.

“English football is on the up but at the minute we’re all a little bit gutted because we thought we could win this tournament.

“I’m sure there will be future senior players in this team.”

‘A heroic effort’ – analysis

Former England captain Terry Butcher on BBC Radio 5 live

What a heroic effort from all these England players. They matched Germany – the application and spirit has been magnificent throughout this competition.

Great guts and spirit – they’ve carried the badge and the jersey, and they’ve made everyone proud.

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