England have exited six of their last 10 major tournaments on penalties, leading to an undercurrent of trepidation that captain Steven Gerrard understands but will not be getting swept up in.
The Three Lions’ defeat to Germany at the semi-final juncture of the 1990 World Cup began a nightmare run of penalty shootout defeats that last struck at Euro 2012.
Gerrard netted that day as England exited to Italy, but six years earlier the England skipper saw his penalty saved in their World Cup quarter-final exit to Portugal.
“It’s difficult to describe what it is like,” he said. “Unfortunately for me I failed in that situation when I took a penalty in a World Cup environment and it was a difficult atmosphere to be in.
“I learnt my lessons from that and a couple of years ago I scored the penalty I was asked to take.
“We are going to practice penalties a lot but it is a difficult situation to put into words and describe it. There is a lot of pressure.
“You have an awful lot more time to think about your penalty and what is at stake is a lot bigger and it is a pressure situation.
“A penalty shootout is a more pressurised situation than any one penalty in a league game.”
England last won a penalty shootout at a major tournament 18 years ago but the current squad have been working hard to prepare for the situation occurring in Brazil.
Roy Hodgson has brought sports psychiatrist Steve Peters away with the Three Lions and the players have been working hard in training to avoid such issues this summer.
“I can understand the fixation because we have failed in quite a few shootouts but I would say don’t get carried away with it because it might never come about,” Gerrard added.
“As players hopefully we perform well enough in 90 minutes or 120 minutes to prevent it going to a shootout. But we will be ready for a shootout if it comes around.”