This was a rather an unfortunate weekend for Cup Finals and Penalty Takers in general:
On Saturday the Seniors just lost away 1-3 to Sporting Duet in the Covid Cup. The match started briskly with the Dragons goalie making saves early on, before they took the lead from the Dragons right back’s long throw to his left back at the near post who headed it in. Sporting Duet equalised by half time. The second half was very open with both teams creating chances to take the lead. On 70 minutes the Dragons scored again, only for it to be disallowed by the linesman. A dubious call. The Dragons continued to pile on the pressure and were awarded a penalty on 75 minutes, only for it to be saved. The momentum of the game changed and Sporting Duet had their tails up as they went on to score 2 goals in the last 15 minutes. The Dragons were unlucky but will learn from the experience.
On Sunday England drew 1-1 with Italy after extra time in the European Cup Final but then missed penalties to keep the Dragons company. England started with verve and vigour to score in the first two minutes – a record for a European Cup Final. The Dragons always tell our Under 11s that it is risky to rely on a one goal lead and so it proved as Italy equalised, via a messy goal mouth scramble. At full time it was 1-1. After extra time it was still a breathless 1-1 and it was on to penalties. One wonders whether the best preparation for taking a penalty is to be substituted on, minutes from the final whistle, with the instruction to save the nation in front of a cauldron of cheering 50,000 spectators with millions more watching on TV. England lost. All was despondency for England fans until they realised that the loss was part of a bigger plan to win the World Cup in 2022.