Penalty shootouts have been England’s bane in major international competitions. In three of the last four tournaments they have featured in, they have been knocked out after failing to win the shootouts.
England fans will fear that the same could happen in Brazil, assuming of course the Three Lions get out of their group. Pitted against Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica in Group D, Roy Hodgson’s men could struggle to make it through to the last 16 at the 2014 World Cup finals.
However, Joe Hart is leaving nothing to chance and is practising for a penalty shootout in the knockout stages. The Manchester City goalkeeper is the undisputed number one for the 1966 World Cup winners and is prepared to save spot kicks.
‘It's all in the preparation for me’, the 27-year-old told Goal.com. ‘Watching the various takers, I can prepare as best I can. I can prepare too with my own teammates - they practise which in turn helps me practise trying to save penalties’.
It seems that England’s outfield players are also practising taking spot kicks. Of course, scoring from 12 yards on a training ground is different to stepping up to take a spot kick with a place in the quarter-finals of a World Cup at stake, but practice makes perfect.
Not only will practising taking penalties help the England players during a shootout, it will also prove crucial if they are to take a spot kick during normal time.
England may not be one of the favourites for the World Cup, but it’s good to see that their preparations for football’s greatest competitions are in full swing.