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Ghosts of failures not come back to haunt Kane

Whenever a major tournament goes up in flames for England, there’s an inevitable scramble for a scapegoat – and most of the time, it’s as a result of a missed kick from 12 yards.

Just last year, Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho, and Marcus Rashford were hammered by the press in the fallout of the European Championships, when the trio missed their spot kicks in the shootout loss to Italy – but more concerningly, negative media attention gave way to racist trolls.

Before Harry Kane on Sunday, they were just the latest victims of this need to find someone to blame – and in England’s last 30 years of near-misses and heartbreaking losses, there’s been plenty.

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Kane will no doubt have wanted the earth to swallow him up after sending the ball miles over the crossbar – and he’s far from the first.

2006 World Cup – Golden generation falls short

England had labored to the quarter-finals in Germany without particularly impressing, and battled through 120 minutes against Portugal with the knowledge of their horrid record in shootouts hanging over them.

Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher all failed to convert, and after Cristiano Ronaldo sealed the deal, Portugal went on to face France in the semis.

Fortunately for those that missed their penalties, most of the blame back home was saved for young striker Wayne Rooney, who was red carded for stamping on Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho.

1998 World Cup, 2004 Euros – Beckham the villain

While England also bombed out on penalties in 1998, it was David Beckham who was public enemy number one after being red carded.

England had led thanks to Michael Owen’s wonder goal, before Javier Zanetti leveled on the stroke of half time to make it 2-2.

Beckham would barely make it back on the field after the break.

Just moments after the restart, the Manchester United superstar was goaded into retaliation after a foul by Argentina’s Diego Simeone, forcing the Three Lions to play the entire second half, as well as extra time, with 10 men.

Six years later, England were beaten in the Euros on penalties by Portugal – Beckham opted to take the first kick for his team, and just like Kane, sent it well over the top of the goal. Later on in the shootout, Darius Vassell would miss as well, and England went home.

2012 Euros – Pirlo shows his class

It’s not often that the goalkeeper is given the blame for a shootout loss, but Joe Hart was left the victim of ridicule after being embarrassed by Andrea Pirlo’s ‘panenka’ penalty as Italy knocked England out.

It’s not uncommon for keepers to resort to a bit of mind games during big moments – as Australia’s Andrew Redmayne did so successfully against Peru, for example – but in this case, the gesturing and yelling from England’s No.1 had no effect.

Pirlo ignored everything that was being thrown at him, and nonchalantly dinked his spot kick down the middle as Hart diverged to the side and stared back helplessly.

“I saw Hart was practically down on the ground already, so I tried it,” Pirlo said after the match.

“I didn’t think about what would happen if I’d got it wrong, it was just a spontaneous thing.

“Hart looked very confident in himself, so I thought we had to bring him down a peg or two.”

1990 World Cup and 1996 Euros – Germany play the spoiler

No nation has given England more pain on the big stage than Germany, and it’s arguable that no shootout loss is more heartbreaking than England’s first one back in the semi-finals of the World Cup in 1990.

Gary Lineker’s late goal forced extra time, where both teams hit the post and David Platt had a goal ruled out for offside. Instead, he went the distance and after misses from Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle, England were out. Germany went on to win the final.

Six years later, on home soil, England got their first win in a shootout against Spain, setting up a rematch at the same stage of a tournament. This time, each of the first five takers on both teams held their nerve, setting up sudden death.

Andreas Moller scored for Germany, but current England boss Gareth Southgate couldn’t do likewise – and once again, the Germans went on to lift the trophy.

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