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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Missed Kick: Southgate Nets a Letdown

LONDON -- The scene was set for a wild, noisy party for English soccer. In one movement, German goalkeeper Andy Koepke ripped the plug out of the stereo and left the home fans to drift away sad and silent.


Koepke dived low to his right to block Gareth Southgate's penalty at the end of a dramatic shoot-out and help steer Germany to victory over England after an intense and draining European championship semifinal at Wembley.


In the 1990 World Cup semifinals it had been former keeper Bodo Illgner who had been the German hero after he stopped Stuart Pearce's penalty with his legs as the Germans came off best in another shoot-out, the last time the nations met in a competitive match.


Now it was the turn of Barcelona-bound Koepke, who has saved his country on several key occasions during Euro 96, to frustrate the English fans.


"The penalty was not placed as well as the others and I just managed to stop it. But you have to remember that the goalkeeper has nothing to lose in a shoot-out," Koepke said.


Southgate fired too close to Koepke's body and although the goalkeeper did not grab the ball cleanly as he dived low to his right he did enough to half catch it and half kick it away to safety.


As Southgate turned away in utter dejection the scoreboard still showed Germany 5, England 5.


The first person to console him was Pearce.


"I know Stuart was there but I can't remember a thing after the penalty," said the Aston Villa defender.


"It never crossed my mind that I would not score. I was very confident," he said.


"But now I feel as though I have let everybody down. This great tournament which the whole country wanted us to win has ended with my penalty that has put us out.


"It has gone reasonably well for me but from now on that will be the only part that will be remembered.


"I thought we had a great chance to win tonight, but now it has all gone wrong."


Coach Terry Venables, whose career as England coach effectively ended the moment Andreas M?ller scored from the spot to make it 6-5 and give Germany victory, could not praise Southgate highly enough.


"He has been absolutely first class in this tournament and has nothing to be ashamed about. We could have had the game dead and buried in extra time and we would be having a different conversation now.


"The morale of the team is obviously on the floor right now, but I really believe that they deserved better."