England’s Euro heartbreaks: Penalty losses and await Euro 2024

Ahead of Euro 2024, let’s revisit some of the most devastating moments in England’s European Championship history. These heartbreaks have left a lasting impact on the nation’s footballing legacy.

England’s European Championship history has been marked by a significant amount of heartbreak. From Gazza’s tearful moment in Euro 96 to the devastating loss to Italy on penalties three years ago, supporting the Three Lions in the Euros has never been a dull experience. However, Gareth Southgate’s team is determined to finally bring an end to the suffering of their loyal fans. As they prepare to compete in Euro 2024, held in Germany from June 14 to July 14, England is considered the favorites to win the tournament. Yet, in order to achieve this, they must overcome the emotional burden of past near-misses and failures.

Sport TeaTV examines several of the most excruciating moments in England’s intricate association with the Euros. Prepare yourselves…

England 1-1 Italy (2-3 PENS) – Euro 2020

England’s Euro heartbreaks: Penalty losses and await Euro 2024 - 1

England had a promising start to the night as Luke Shaw scored early on, igniting celebrations at Wembley. However, they failed to maintain their lead as Leonardo Bonucci equalized in the second half. The match went into extra time before reaching a penalty shootout. England took the lead after the initial penalties, but their luck changed when Jordan Pickford saved Andrea Belotti’s shot. Unfortunately, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka missed their penalties, resulting in Italy winning the trophy for the second time.

England 1-1 Germany (5-6 PENS) – Euro 96

England’s Euro heartbreaks: Penalty losses and await Euro 2024 - 2

During the thrilling summer of 1996, Euro fever had taken over the nation as millions tuned in to watch the Three Lions attempt to end their 30-year drought. The Euro 96 semi-final began similarly to the Euro 2020 final, with England taking the lead through Alan Shearer in just three minutes, only for Germany to equalize with Stefan Kuntz 15 minutes later.

The introduction of the Golden Goal rule in extra time almost saw England secure victory, but Darren Anderton hit the woodwork and Paul Gascoigne missed a close-range chance. Unfortunately, Southgate’s missed penalty in the shootout allowed Andreas Moller to secure the win for Germany, breaking English hearts in the process.

England 2-2 Portugal (5-6 PENS) – Euro 2004

England’s Euro heartbreaks: Penalty losses and await Euro 2024 - 3

The Three Lions, once again, took an early lead as Michael Owen scored within four minutes, quieting the home Portuguese crowd during their quarter-final match in Lisbon. The game took a turn when Wayne Rooney had to leave the field due to a broken foot in the first half, leaving England struggling as Helder Postiga scored with just seven minutes left on the clock.

England had a goal disallowed shortly after when John Terry was deemed to have fouled goalkeeper Ricardo in the lead-up to Sol Campbell’s close-range header. Rui Costa then put Portugal in the lead with 10 minutes left in extra time, but England managed to equalize through Frank Lampard five minutes later. The penalty shootout witnessed a peculiar moment in Euros history when Ricardo removed his gloves before saving Darius Vassell’s shot, and then proceeded to score the winning goal, eliminating England from Euro 2004.

England 1-2 Iceland – Euro 2016

England’s Euro heartbreaks: Penalty losses and await Euro 2024 - 4

England appeared to have an uncomplicated Round of 16 match against Iceland, but the situation quickly transformed into a disastrous scenario in the South of France.

In the early stages of the game, Wayne Rooney successfully converted a penalty after four minutes, giving England a promising start. However, surprisingly, they found themselves trailing 2-1 just 15 minutes later.

Ragnar Sigurdsson scored from close range following a typical Icelandic long throw, while Joe Hart allowed Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s shot to slip through his hands.

Despite having 70 minutes to turn the game around, England struggled to create scoring opportunities against the team ranked 34th in the world, with a population of less than 400,000.

Following the match, Roy Hodgson resigned as manager, marking one of the most disgraceful performances in England’s extensive football history.

England 0-0 Italy (2-4 PENS) – Euro 2012

England’s Euro heartbreaks: Penalty losses and await Euro 2024 - 5

The quarter-final meeting in Kiev saw both teams evenly matched in the initial stages. However, as the match progressed, Andrea Pirlo’s influence on the game became more prominent, leading to England resorting to launching long balls towards Andy Carroll.

Similar to the Euro 2020 final, England managed to take an early lead in the penalty shootout after Riccardo Montolivo missed his penalty for the Azzurri. The momentum shifted when Pirlo executed a daring Panenka penalty, calmly placing the ball down the middle past a diving Joe Hart. Unfortunately, Ashley Cole and Ashley Young were not as successful with their penalties, resulting in England being eliminated on penalties for the third time in four European Championships.