CHANTILLY, France — England is back in the knockout stage of a major soccer tournament. And that usually means one thing: A strong chance of being involved in a penalty shootout.

That’s bad news for England.

England has lost six of its seven shootouts in major tournaments since 1990, making it something of an unwanted tradition for the national team.

Players such as Stuart Pearce, Chris Waddle, Gareth Southgate and David Batty are as well known for missing penalties for England as anything else they achieved in their careers.

England will play Iceland in the round of 16 at the European Championship in Nice on Monday. Captain Wayne Rooney said the team has been practicing penalties after every training session at the tournament, treating it like a game scenario.

“We go through the rhythm which we would do in a game,” Rooney said. “Obviously it’s different with the crowd and the pressure, but it’s important for the players when you practice penalties to practice how you’re going to do it (during a game).”

In practice, Rooney has been telling goalkeepers which way he is going to kick the ball, to make it more of a challenge.

“If he can’t save it and he knows which way I’m going, then there’s no worries,” he said.

England’s catalog of woe in penalty shootouts began at the 1990 World Cup, when Pearce had a spot kick saved and Waddle blasted his over the bar in a semifinal loss to Germany.

At Euro 1996, which England hosted, the team beat Spain on penalties in the quarterfinals but then lost in the semifinals, again to Germany.

England lost on penalties to Argentina in the last 16 of the 1998 World Cup, to Portugal in the quarterfinals of both Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup, and then to Italy in the quarterfinals of Euro 2012.

“The good thing about this squad now is I don’t think there is one player who has been in a shootout and missed for England, who is in this squad,” Rooney said. “So that won’t be hanging over any player.”

Rooney also noted that a shootout might not be necessary if England does a better job converting its scoring chances.

“We do have to be a bit more ruthless, in terms of chances we have had,” said England’s record scorer, with 52 goals. “We have to take a few more of them.”


CHILE 2, COLUMBIA 0: Charles Aranguiz and Jose Pedro Fuenzalida scored in the first half and defending champion Chile returned to the final with a rain-delayed victory in Chicago late Wednesday night.

Chile earned its fourth straight win since a 2-1 loss to top-ranked Argentina in its opening match. Next up is a rematch with Argentina on Sunday night in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Chile also faced Argentina in last year’s final, which it won 4-1 in a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw. Argentina was the last country to win Copa championships in consecutive years, accomplishing the feat in 1946-47.


LEICESTER CITY: Jamie Vardy has decided to stay with Leicester to spearhead the team’s title defense and first Champions League campaign.

Vardy, Leicester’s top scorer with 24 goals this past season, agreed to extend his contract by four years.