Filed: Wednesday, 20th June 2007
By: Matthew O'Greel
England's under-21s - featuring three Hammers - went out of the European Championships tonight as the penalty blues struck once again.
Host nation Holland will play in this weekend's final against either Serbia or Belgium after winning an amazing shootout 13 goals to 12. Anton Ferdinand - just as in last year's FA Cup Final in Cardiff - was the fall-guy, missing England's 17TH spot kick of the night which gave the Dutch an advantage they gleefully accepted.
The game itself had finished 1-1 after Leroy Lita's 39th minute opener had been cancelled out by an 89th minute equaliser from Maceo Rigters. The Dutch - who had controlled the game for long periods - failed to score a second goal despite having a shot count of 26-5 in their favour over the 120 minutes and a man advantage due to England running out of substitutes.
Mark Noble scored both of his penalties in the shootout, whilst Nigel Reo-Coker - who was the last outfield player to take one - missed his only spot-kick. Anton Ferdinand scored his first with some aplomb - but saw his second effort cannon off the bar.
Had England progressed neither Noble nor Reo-Coker would have played in the final as both picked up their second bookings of the tournament, which automatically ruled them out of the next match.
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