Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Saka penalty compared to Pearce´s moment of redemption by emotional Lineker

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Jul 2024

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Former England striker Gary Lineker was moved to tears by Bukayo Saka’s penalty against Switzerland, comparing it to Stuart Pearce’s iconic spot-kick at Euro 1996.

England were staring at a quarter-final exit from Euro 2024 until Saka scored a wonderful equaliser to cancel out Breel Embolo’s opener 10 minutes from time.

The Arsenal winger – whose saved penalty cost England in the Euro 2020 final against Italy – then stepped up to convert in the shoot-out as the Three Lions scored with all five of their attempts.

Jordan Pickford saved from Manuel Akanji as England won just the fourth penalty shoot-out in their history, teeing up a semi-final clash with the Netherlands for Wednesday.

Lineker was part of the England team beaten on spot-kicks by West Germany at the 1990 World Cup, when Pearce was one of two players to fail to score, seeing his effort saved by Bodo Illgner.

Pearce then memorably scored in the Three Lions’ next shoot-out, a victory over Spain on home soil at Euro 1996, and Saka’s moment of redemption brought those memories flooding back for Lineker.

Speaking on The Rest is Football podcast on Sunday, Lineker said of Saka’s kick: “I did actually get a little bit emotional. It reminded me so much of the Stuart Pearce moment.

“Pearce missed in 1990 when I played. I know Stuart, you know Stuart. He’s such a diamond of a bloke and a wonderful football player.

“Then we played against Spain, penalty shoot-out, in 96 in the Euros, and he stepped forward again.

“I was in the crowd thinking, ‘please, please score, don’t miss’, and everyone in the crowd was thinking the same thing, there was a silence that was palpable.

“When he knocked that in, I cried. I was sitting there in the crowd, crying tears of joy. I don’t cry when I’m sad, I cry when I’m happy, and it reminded me of that.

“Saka took the penalty that basically lost us the Euros, and then to come back, a young lad having scored a brilliant goal to drag us level almost immediately… he’s amazing!”

Saka’s goal made him just the third Arsenal player to score for England at the Euros, after Tony Adams in 1988 and Theo Walcott in 2012, and the first to do so in a knockout game.

He is also the first Arsenal player to net for the Three Lions at both the World Cup and the Euros, having scored three times in Qatar two years ago.

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