Shearer hopes England avoids penalties

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iol spt june23 Shearer Getty Images Former England striking great Alan Shearer wants England to avoid yet more penalty shoot-out heartache when they face Italy in their Euro 2012 quarterfinal.

London – Former England striking great Alan Shearer wants England to avoid yet more penalty shoot-out heartache when they face Italy in their Euro 2012 quarter-final in Kiev on Sunday.

Shearer, who scored 30 goals in 63 appearances for England, found the net in all three of his shootouts Ä against Spain and Germany at Euro 96 and Argentina in the World Cup two years later.

However, the Spain match was the only occasion when England have won a shoot-out, losing five others in total including the Euro 96

semi-final against the Germans, with the then West Germany also defeating them on spot-kicks in the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup.

Despite his own record, Shearer said shoot-outs were a wretched experience.

“I would not wish the experience of taking it on my worst enemy,” Shearer said in his column in the Sun tabloid on Saturday.

“I used to be supremely confident in my ability to score from the spot. I took part in three shootouts, two in Euro '96 and one at France '98 – and scored in them all.

“Yet I can still remember how it felt in those seconds before,” the former Southampton, Blackburn and Newcastle striker recalled.

“The walk from the centre circle to the penalty box is about 40

yards but it feels like four miles.

“Physically you feel the tension and your heart is going 100

times faster than normal. No matter how many times you've practised, nothing can replicate that moment.”

Shearer sympathised with all those entrusted with shoot-out duty but said keeping a clear head was the way to a successful penalty.

“I will feel for those players with the responsibility against Italy on Sunday - if it comes to it.

“But I'd tell them don't change your mind, be confident. It's all about taking control of the moment and not letting the moment take control of you.” – Sapa-AFP


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