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By Laureus Ambassador and Dutch football legend Ruud Gullit
England have an unbelievable curse to have lost again on penalties.
I have no idea why they do so badly but they have lost so many shoot outs in big tournaments and to lose on penalties again is heartbreaking for them.
I have no idea why England always do badly – Holland have had some problems with penalties as well in the past but we do better now.
It doesn’t matter how much you practice, that walk from the centre circle to the penalty spot, with the eyes of the world watching you and all the pressure is something you just cannot train for.
For me, Andrea Pirlo’s chipped penalty was a psychological killer and had a massive impact on England. It was very brave of him but it worked and it killed them off.
But Roy Hodgson did a good job given the time he has had in the role and he should be proud.
He had to make sure that the team didn’t concede any goals, because that gives a firm foundation, and he did that.
Now he has to focus on creating a new team with new players and he has the time, the knowledge and the experience to do that.
You have to start the spine of the team but England have the players who can form that spine and with some time and patience, they can do it.
You could argue that they are at a disadvantage compared to other countries because they looked tired, but federations are not so concerned about the players, just marketing.
Even if they had a winter break like other parts of Europe, would their clubs or the FA use it to play games in Asia or beyond? It is a challenge with the game being so popular and television audiences wanting as many games as they can get.
Looking forward to the semi-finals, I’m really pleased at how Ronaldo has grown during the tournament.
It’s always good to see a star rising to expectation and he is on fire at the moment.
He has a great eye for goal and pace and he knows the Spanish defenders. If there is one moment where he gets the ball, he is quick and he could win the match for Portugal.
They have so much possession and are in so much control but don’t always do a lot with it – players like Xavi and Iniesta have been superb and they have so much quality, but at times, they are so good it almost looks boring.
Germany have certainly been the best team to watch and they must be favourites.
They have a good balance of players and are a strong team but I have liked Italy as well.
I was very pleased and surprised how Italy have played, even though England gave Pirlo far too much time. I couldn’t understand why he had so much space to dictate the play.
Italy also have good strikers and they’re a good tournament team. It could go either way.