England boss Gareth Southgate planning for penalties at World Cup

Gareth Southgate has revealed England have been practising, studying and developing strategies for penalty shoot-outs since March.

The Three Lions will head to Moscow to take on Colombia next Tuesday in a round-of-16 World Cup clash that offers England the chance to win a first knockout match since 2006.

England may have to go the distance against the South Americans, meaning past frailties from the spot could come to the fore once more.

The senior team have lost six of their seven penalty shoot-outs at major tournaments – a statistic manager Southgate knows only too well, having missed his spot-kick in the Euro ’96 semi-final against Germany.

But the former defender is determined his England side will be better prepared as they prepare for the World Cup knockout phase.

“In terms of penalties, we’ve been practising and going through strategies on them since March,” Southgate said after his side’s 1-0 group-stage defeat to Belgium.

“We’ve done various different studies and had individual practice.

“We’ll obviously go through that in a little more detail now, but it would have been too late to start that now, three days away from a game.

“We are aware the margins are going to be really fine in these knockout phases, and we have got to be prepared physically to go to extra-time if needed, mentally to go to extra-time – and to go beyond that, if that’s what it takes.”

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The England manager is confident however that his side will rise to the occasion against Colombia and reach the quarter-finals.

“I believe it’s a game we can win,” said Southgate.

“It’s going to be a fantastic challenge for us. The numbers that they’ve got supporting them is clear, and they have some outstanding individual players.”

Southgate believes Tuesday is England’s “biggest match in a decade”, which is why it would have been “ridiculous” to risk Golden Boot leader Harry Kane in chasing a leveller against Belgium.

The former defender pointed to James Rodriguez’s injury in Colombia’s final group game as an example of the risk he would have been taking by fielding Kane in Kaliningrad, where he remained positive despite their first defeat in a year.