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England were previously infamous for being bad at penalty shoot-outs but the 5-3 spot-kick win over Switzerland in the Euro 2024 quarter-final was close to perfection, according to a top sports psychologist.

England had previously won only two of nine shoot-outs at men’s major championships but Gareth Southgate’s side have been training hard for penalties, with specialists picked in the squad and sent on as late substitutes in the 1-1 draw with the Swiss on Saturday.

The Three Lions now face the Netherlands in the semi-finals on Wednesday in Dortmund.

Sports psychologist Professor Geir Jordet told Tuesday’s Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung that Southgate setting up a “penalty shoot-out taskforce” and looking at the issue scientifically was bearing fruit.

“A penalty shoot-out is a big team event. The preparation should have started years before. England have been working on this for eight years, and we saw against Switzerland that they are slowly getting closer to a perfect penalty shoot-out,” Jordet said.

England lost the final of the last Euros three years ago on home soil on penalties to Italy, with three players missing including Bukayo Saka.

But this time, Cole Palmer, Jude Bellingham, Saka, Ivan Toney and Trent Alexander-Arnold scored all five against the Swiss, stunning England fans with their coolness. Jordan Pickford saved Manuel Akanji’s opening kick for the Swiss to help seal victory.

“I’m full of admiration for Saka,” added the psychologist, who is an expert on penalties and has written a book about them.

“Not only did he miss the decisive penalty in 2021, the consequences for him were devastating.

“He was a young man, just 19 years old, and suddenly he became a victim of racism. Now, I can’t think of another player who has such an automated process when taking a penalty.”

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