Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson says he ‘made a mistake’ not bringing a ‘mental coach’ to the 2006 World Cup. He said the Three Lions squad could have benefitted from some expert advice ahead of their penalty shootout with Portugal.
England reached the quarter-final of the World Cup in Germany after beating Paraguay, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tabgo and drawing with Sweden. However, they had to overcome Portugal to progress through to the semi-final of the competition.
England were eager to get their revenge on Portugal after they knocked the Three Lions out of the 2004 Euros following an epic penalty shootout. However, it wasn’t meant to be as Cristiano Ronaldo confirmed their exit from the penalty spot.
Eriksson says Gareth Southgate must do everything he can to prepare his team for a potential penalty shootout in Qatar. He also shared his philosophy for who should takes England’s penalties during the tournament while speaking with Sportsmail.
Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson says he ‘made a mistake’ not bringing a ‘mental coach’ to the 2006 World Cup and said Gareth Southgate must prepare adequately
Speaking about England’s history when it comes to penalties and his decision-making ahead of the 2006 World Cup, Eriksson said: Penalty shootouts are not good when you’re talking about England.
‘I made a big mistake in 2006. I should have taken a mental coach out there for penalty shootouts. But I didn’t. I didn’t think it was necessary. That was a mistake.’
Eriksson took England to three major quarter-finals and lost twice on penalties. Their first loss came in the 2004 European Champions.
England drew 2-2 with Portugal in the quarter-final, forcing the game to go to penalties. It was Beckham who stepped up first for the Three Lions.
Southgate will guide England through the 2022 World Cup in Qatar later this month
He blasted the ball straight over the bar. Everyone’s hearts immediately sunk as England’s fate was hanging by a thread.
England scored their next two and Portugal missed one which meant the Three Lions were back in the game.
After John Terry, Owen Hargreaves and Ashley Cole all bagged their penalties the score was 5-5.
Darius Vassell then had his penalty saved and the Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo put the ball past Seaman to knock England out of the tournament.
England experienced a similar situation when they met Portugal again in the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Eriksson took England to three major quarter-finals and lost twice on penalties. Their first loss came in the 2004 European Champions. Beckham fired his penalty over the bar (above)
England were looking to get their revenge on Portugal but a goalless draw meant the Three Lions were once again facing penalties.
Portugal scored their first and then Frank Lampard’s effort was saved. Portugal went on to miss their next two, while Hargreaves scored his.
Gerrard failed to capitalise on England’s advantage as his shot was saved. Portugal’s Helder Postiga then netted his penalty, and Jamie Carragher missed.
However, it was Cristiano Ronaldo who provided the final nail in the coffin for England – stepping up to slot home their final penalty.
As a result, England were knocked out of the tournament at the quarter-finals for a second time in two years.
Eriksson (right) and England experienced a similar situation when they met Portugal again in the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup in Germany
Frank Lampard and Jamie Carragher (above) were among those to miss for England in 2006
Therefore, Eriksson says it’s vital that Southgate prepares his team adequately for any potential penalty shootouts over the next month.
He said the players need to be taught how to ‘relax’ and block out the ‘millions of people watching on TV’.
Eriksson said a ‘mental coach would be extremely beneficial for Southgate’s side as it’s impossible to prepare for the pressure on the training ground.
He said: ‘If it’s possible, when you’re standing on the midline and you know you’re the next one to go up there, [they should teach the England squad] some sort of relaxation.
‘They need to be the chef of their own thoughts. Don’t can’t let one thousand thoughts run around their head.
Southgate was criticised for the selection he made for the Euro 2020 final against Italy
Bukayo Saka (above) – who was just 19 at the time – had to score to send the shootout to sudden death, but his effort was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma
‘They need to be as relaxed as possible with only positive thoughts. It’s easy to say but most people in the world have never tried anything like that in sport.’
Eriksson went on to explain how it is difficult to replicate the same pressure you feel during a tournament while practicing in training.
He said: ‘The problem with penalties is you can never practice them as they need to be practiced. It’s a mental thing.
‘How many thoughts does a player think during the walk from the midline to the penalty spot? Then there are millions of people watching on TV.
Saka was heartbroken after and had to be consoled by his team-mates and Southgate
Italy emerged victorious from the penalty shootout and took the Euro 2020 trophy home
‘That penalty means you are either staying or you are going home. You can never create that feeling so you can never train it.’
Eriksson also shared his philosophy on who should be taking England’s penalties in Qatar. He said Southgate should avoid selecting the most high profile names in the team and the youngster members of the squad.
He said: ‘Who is going to take the penalties? There are some people that say the big, big stars shouldn’t take the penalties because the pressure it too high.
‘Then the youngest players in the squad should not take the penalties because the pressure it too high for them.
Eriksson surprised fans, with Ring Video Doorbell, by showing up for a Toshiba Fire TV watch party
‘So, the penalties should be taken those players that are in the middle. They are experienced. They are not the best, but they are the players than never play badly.
‘But this is one of thousands of theories about penalties. I don’t know. Normally the big ones take the penalties.’
Southgate was criticised for his decision-making in regards to the Euro 2020 penalty shootout. He chose some relatively inexperienced players to step up got England.
England reached their first major tournament final in 55 years. However, they had to beat Italy to get their hands on the trophy.
Research found 45 per cent of fans plan to watch this winter’s tournament on TV from home
Eriksson is excited about the upcoming World Cup in Qatar and backs England to do well
The game ended 1-1 and off to penalties we went once more. The pressure ultimately fell on the shoulders of Bukayo Saka.
The 19-year-old had to score to send the shootout to sudden death, but his effort was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The Italian goalkeeper also denied Jadon Sancho just moments after Manchester United star Marcus Rashford hit the post.
‘Sven-Göran Eriksson surprised fans at a Toshiba watchparty, after research found 45% of fans plan to watch this winter’s tournament on TV from home – with more than one in ten set to pick up a new TV ready for the football. See more @ToshibaTVEurope.’