Roy is spot on: Hodgson tells his men to get ready if Italy showdown goes to penalties
21:56 GMT, 20 June 2012
Roy Hodgson has called on his England players to cast off the burden of past failures and show the mental toughness to win at penalties.
The England manager has promised his team will be fully prepared should Sunday’s European Championship quarter-final against Italy in Kiev go down to spot-kicks.
‘We have practised already but we’ll take it even more seriously now,’ he said. ‘But it’s really your composure, your confidence, your ability to really block everything out and forget the occasion that means you score or you don’t score.
On the spot: England captain Steven Gerrard has been told he will be the chief penalty taker
‘When you are working with the England team the past is always going to weigh heavily because everything we do today is being compared with something that happened in the past.’
Hodgson has to choose his first five penalty takers but he will turn to skipper Steven Gerrard to lead by example. Hodgson told him he would take the penalties before the opening group game against France.
Gerrard has scored 27 of 34 attempts in his career, although he did miss one in the quarter-final shootout against Portugal at the 2006 World Cup.
No stone unturned: Roy Hodgson is preparing his side for the prospect of a dreaded penalty shootout
The fitness of Ashley Young for the Italy match remained a slight concern for Hodgson, but the Manchester United winger is expected to recover from an ankle injury suffered in a foul challenge by Andriy Shevchenko.
Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai has been sent home after the mistake which cost Ukraine a goal and helped England into the last eight as FIFA president Sepp Blatter declared goal-line technology ‘a necessity’.
Injury concern: England have worries over winger Ashley Young ahead of the quarter-final
Kassai and his assistants failed to spot a shot from Marko Devic had crossed the line before John Terry hooked it clear during England’s 1-0 win on Tuesday. Blatter, having opposed goal-line technology (GLT) for years, even after Frank Lampard’s ‘goal’ against Germany in the 2010 World Cup was missed, confirmed he was now in favour.
‘GLT is no longer an alternative but a necessity,’ Blatter tweeted.
Not joining in, Mario Balotelli (left) looks bored as his Italy team-mates train in Krakow
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