Published on July 4th, 2018 | by Sarah Jubb
England Break The Penalty Curse
It would be safe to assume that England’s match against Colombia had the largest TV audience yesterday. The Metro newspaper estimates 28 million people were watching. And that’s before we found out that it would all end in the one thing England fans dreaded, a penalty shootout.
The world of sport is incredibly superstitious with so called ‘curses’ being found in all sports, from baseball to American football. Football is no different and when it comes to the world’s most popular sporting event, and the biggest prize any footballing nation can take home, there’s plenty of suspicion when things go wrong.
With England winning their match against Colombia in the most nerve wracking way possible, we take a closer look at some of the World Cup curses that either exist, or have existed at certain points.
England’s Penalty Curse
It’s a word that brings a shudder to English fans – penalties. Some of our greatest Football Heroes have suffered during penalties, making it a truly stressful event and leading to a belief of a penalty curse. Not confined to just the World Cup, the English football team has had an abysmal record when it comes to penalty shootouts. The senior men’s team has only won two shootouts now in a major tournament, once in 1996 and now in 2018.
They have been knocked out of the World Cup on penalties in 1990, 1998 and 2006 along with being knocked out of the European Championships in 1996, 2004 and 2012. Unfortunately, this means that they have the worst record amongst teams at World Cups and European Championships!
Mexico’s Round of 16 Misery
Mexico has a fantastic record in the World Cup, qualifying and moving to the knockout rounds in the last seven successive World Cups. This makes them the only country to move forward during this period, along with World Cup legends Brazil. But they also have an unfortunately fantastic record of being knocked out at the exact same stage every time.
Their 2-0 loss to, ironically, Brazil in the 2018 World Cup marked the seventh time that El Tri has failed to advance into the quarter finals. The last time the Mexicans made it to the quarter finals was in 1986, but with the 2024 World Cup being co-hosted being Mexico, Canada and the United States, they are likely to be holding out hope to go further here!
European World Cup Winner’s Curse
The most recent curse in World Cup history is the one that is currently affecting title holders. A new trend has seen every European World Cup champion go home in the next competition during the group stages.
France won in 1998 before exiting in 2002 the bottom of their group. Italy soon followed in 2010 after winning in 2006, also failing to move forward as they finished bottom. Spain won the World Cup in 2010 and exited swiftly in 2014 to the Netherlands, though they remain the only team to not stay at the bottom. Recent winners Germany saw their ungraceful exit from the 2018 World Cup when a shock 2-0 defeat to South Korea saw them flying back home early.
Socceroos Witch Doctor Curse
Perhaps the most bizarre curse on our list is an actual curse that was placed on the Australian football team in 1969. The team travelled to Mozambique to play a qualifier against Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe) and decided to use a witch doctor to curse the Rhodesian team to help them win.
After winning, they refused to pay the witch doctor who promptly placed a curse on the team. Despite qualifying in 1974, they scored nothing and went straight out and then proceeded to never qualify until 2006. This was after an Australian radio personality travelled to Africa and broke the curse, after which Australia has since qualified for every World Cup!
Netherlands Falling At The Final Hurdle
The Netherlands have a very unbalanced reputation when it comes to the World Cup. They have failed to qualify eight times throughout their World Cup history and have only qualified 10 times. But out of those 10 times, they have reached the final three times.
And unfortunately, the Flying Dutchmen lost every time. This perhaps makes them the unluckiest team in World Cup history and gives them perhaps the most crushing curse of all – getting so close yet being denied every time!
Celebrate The UK’s Footballers!
Why not celebrate England’s historic footballing win by looking at the range of Football themed collectibles that are available here on the Post Office Shop? We have some memorabilia that includes some of the Footballing Heroes of UK history past such as Bobby Charlton, Jimmy Greaves and more.