"Football is a game with 22 players on the field and a ball that you have to put into the opposite goal and at the end of the game Germany wins".
We have a variant of the same theme, albeit we insert a penalty shootout into the description, followed by Germany winning.
We suspect they've got a secret underground bunker somewhere buried in the Black Forest where they systematically work out the weight of and height of each player and then some complicated algorithm that dictates what velocity, trajectory, and angle to the plain they need to strike the ball at. Then they compute all this information into their android players and send them out to perform like Audis
The first penalty shootout I remember was from the 1976 European Championship final when West Germany lost to Czechoslovakia. I think I'm right in saying they've never missed a penalty since? They were introduced to the World Cup in 1982, but we had to wait until 1990 and the semi final against .... yes ... them! ... they who can not be named, before seeing if we were any good at them. We secretly fancied our chances. In Peter Shilton we had a goalkeeper widely regarded as being amongst the best three in the world, if not, then the best. We also had a group of players who were regular penalty takers for their clubs. Stuart Pearce was the first to miss, and Chris Waddle followed. Germany went onto win the competition (deservedly I suppose) albeit I remain confident we'd have beaten the suspension ravaged dirty Argies in the final
Since then England have racked up a seriously impressive sequence of penalty shootout failures
Six years later and back on home turf in the semi final of the European Championship, the golden goal didn't come to our rescue as we came within inches of beating, they who can not be named again. Ultimately it went to a penalty shoot out. This time a couple of England's self styled hard men (loud mouths with bigger opinions of their own ability then their actions warrant) went missing - didn't they Paul Ince? Instead lesser players with more balls came forward, and missed. No one really holds Gareth Southgate responsible, but tend to ask what he was doing being asked to take one at that stage. I've got a feeling that England had capable substitutes available to them as well, who could have been used in the last minute
1998 this time and the World Cups last 16. David Beckham got himself sent off for a petulent little ankle flick whilst lying on the ground, which brought the inevitable over reaction from the dirty Argentinians as Simone went to ground as if shot by an RPG. England clung on for well over an hour, and even had a perfectly good goal chalked off by a blind referee from Denmark (Kim Nielsen). This time when we went to penalties it was the turn of David Batty to join the list. Later Batty would reveal it was the first penalty he'd ever taken! a true testimony to English planning if ever there was one, and something that doesn't compare favourably with the German penalty takers factory in the Black Forest. I mean, how on earth do you get to the world cup with a nominated penalty taker who has never taken one before?
2004 European Championship quarter final. Having missed the year previous against Turkey, and also in the gorup stage against France, David Beckham steps up to take the opening spot kick and duly blasts it over the bar (the turf moved apparently). As we go into the sudden death element Darius Vassel joins the list of failures as Portugal join Argentina and Germany on the list of teams to have beaten England.
2006 next and a quarter final of the World Cup this time, against Portugal again. A bit of symmetry as the coniving Ronaldo succeeds in getting Rooney sent off and is caught winking to a team mate on camera after making a miraculous recovery from the injury that never was. England again hold on grimly and go to penalties. Now in terms of giving your goalkeeper no chance, England excelled themselves here. Frank Lampard scored, was made to retake it, and missed. Steven Gerrard missed, and so too did Jamie Garragher, sparking him to later say that "at least it was for England not for Liverpool". The club and country thing is a major issue in England, with the national teams interest frequently come a poor second to the tribes in the affections of players and supporters
In 2008 we took matters into our hands and duly elected not to qualify, and in 2010 played like drains in South Africa and so avoided the dignity of a penalty shoot out
2012 and it's the European quater final time again. This time our luck is in. Only the Italians have a record similar to our own of choking in the cauldron of penalties, so at stake here is the unofficial title of European feckless spot kick takers. We fancy our chances of beating the continents biggest cowards. All the jokes about the Italian flag being a white cross, on a white background, or one car backfires and all of Rome surrenders etc were in ever close attendance, as by now we knew we'd go to penalties. Sadly the joke was on England, as not for the first time we swooped the board and proved that when it came to missing penalties on the big stage, we were the kings. Italy won and became the fourth team to claim an English scalp on this method