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Gareth Southgate looks to lay ghost of Euro 96 penalty shootout to rest

England manager has never been allowed to forget his semi-final miss against Germany and is adamant his players will not suffer the same fate at the 2018 World Cup

It was inevitable that, at some point, the conversation with Gareth Southgate would turn to the most harrowing ordeal of his professional life and the reasons why the England manager, after two decades of living with the consequences, is so determined to make sure his team will not fall into the same trap.

Southgate was thinking back to that night against Germany in the semi-final of Euro 96, with the game drawn 1-1, and the traumatic events that led to John Major, the prime minister, offering him a sympathetic hug outside Wembley. The night Southgate was asked by Terry Venables, just moments before the penalty shootout started, if he would take one and it hit him, in his own words, like “a bolt from the blue”. The night he assured Bryan Robson that, yes, he had taken a penalty before. “Bryan didn’t ask for details,” Southgate later recalled. “That suited me. My penalty career had been brief: one missed effort for Crystal Palace three seasons previously.”

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