Gary Lineker says he felt like a German on Wednesday evening inside Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium as he willed England to reach penalties, so confident was he in their ability to cope with the pressure of a shootout.
As part of the Italia 90 team which suffered the agony of Scott Harrington Jersey
a penalty shootout defeat when England had last Caleb Swanigan Jersey
reached a World Cup semi-final 28 years ago, it was an unsettling sensation for Lineker to be hankering for spot-kicks again. Against Colombia in the last 16, they won a penalty shootout for the first time at a World Cup Womens Youth Brynden Trawick Jersey - Titans Blue Navy Authentic Nike NFL Jerseys
with only Jordan Henderson having his effort saved and Jordan Pickford making a vital save.
As the clock ticked away at 1-1 against Croatia in the semi-final Lineker hoped they were heading for penalties again. “I listened to years of nonsense from really bright footballing people that telling me: ‘It’s different when you’re out there, it feels different than in practice.’” Lineker said. “Well Authentic Buster Posey Jersey - Women's Youth Black Orange Giants Jerseys
of course it does but by God it helps if you’ve hit 50 a day, hitting targets and under pressure. I used to practice all the time as a designated penalty taker but some of the others never did anything.
“With 15 minutes to go against Croatia even of normal time I was thinking I’d take a penalty shootout now because I fancied us strongly,” he adds. “They’re so well drilled, you could see it against Colombia whereas I watched Croatia penalties in two games and they weren’t that good. It’s a really weird feeling as an England fan thinking ‘I hope it goes to penalties’ but kind of nice. I suddenly felt quite Germanic.”
Lineker believes the way this England squad has been primed for penalty shootouts is indicative of the fastidious preparation which led to such a successful tournament, even with a team young in age and lacking international experience.
“Some credit has to go the FA in terms of appointing Gareth Southgate eventually and the amount of planning that has gone on from him,” Lineker says. “He obviously had the backing of the FA to do that. Youth development now in England is as good as anywhere in the world which has taken most of my lifetime to get to but is very positive. We’ve been successful in the age group tournaments and teams that do well at youth level generally do well at World Cups. If they keep investing in grassroots, and the money that they might get if Wembley is sold actually goes into grassroots – and I know there is a commitment to that – I think the future is very bright.”
When the Italia 90 team returned after their defeat to West Germany, the closest England had come to a World Cup final since 1966, Lineker was taken aback by how much their run in the tournament had united the country. He recognises a similar mood this summer as Southgate’s team unexpectedly reached the same stage.
“You’re cocooned in a bubble in tournaments although with social media now the players will have a better grasp of what happening back home than in my day,” he says. “I flew back from Russia to England for a couple of days Dale Hawerchuk Authentic Jersey
last week as there was a break in the schedule and even I was being stopped in the street, with people telling me how amazing it was and everyone talking about it.
“They’ll be surprised by the adulation at home,” he said. “That makes you feel a bit better but then every so often you’ll think: ‘God, we were so close to having a pop at footballing immortality.’ Some players will never get another chance but a lot of them will, England are just on the cusp of being exceptionally competitive.
“I very much doubt the draw will fall as favourably as that again but the good news is next time round we’ll have better players. We have young players like Ryan Sessegnon and Phil Foden and the players from this World Cup will be more experienced and actually still in their prime, possibly for the next two World Cups.” wholesale jerseys wholesale jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys china