Why England's penalty scorers are more important than you realise

Why England's penalty scorers are more important than you realise
'That's done' - Saka banishes penalty doubts as England advance
SNTV / VideoElephant

England have progressed to the semi-finals of Euro 2024 after beating Switzerland in a penalty shootout following a tense 1-1 draw in Dusseldorf.

In what was another mostly uninspiring game from England, it was actually the Swiss who took the lead through Breel Embolo who jabbed home a low cross on 75 minutes.

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka got England back in the game just five minutes later with a long-range shot that evaded Yann Sommer in the Switzerland goal.

There was no breakthrough in extra time so to penalties it was, with neither team having a great record from the spot at major tournaments.

However, in a reversal of fortunes for England, they managed to score all five of their spot kicks with Cole Palmer, Jude Bellingham, Saka, Ivan Toney and Trent Alexander-Arnold all cooly converting their penalties. Switzerland scored three of their four penalties with Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji being the only player to miss for the Swiss.

One of the most significant elements of the scorers for England is that they all come from Black or Black heritage. Cole Palmer qualifies for this fact, as he is of Afro-Kittitian and Nevisian descent on his father's side and has the St Kitts and Nevis flag on his boots.

This is also significant given the aftermath of the Euro 2020 final, which England lost on penalties to Italy with Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho all missing their kicks. After the loss, the three players all suffered horrific racist abuse on social media which was widely condemned and lead to an outpouring of support.

Many on social media have noticed the significance of this and celebrated England's new heroes and their multicultural backgrounds, which will likely serve as a tonic to the ugly scenes of three years ago.

England will next play Wednesday where they'll face the winner of Netherlands vs Turkey in Dortmund.

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