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Euro 2012

Germany will not practise penalties

GDANSK, Poland, June 26 – Ahead of Thursday’s Euro 2012 semi-final against Italy, goalkeeping coach Andreas Kopke has said Germany will not be taking too many spot-kicks to prepare for a dreaded penalty shoot-out.

Germany face the Azzurri in Warsaw on Thursday for a place in Sunday’s final, but after Italy needed a penalty shoot-out to beat England in their quarter-final, Kopke insisted the Germans will not become spot-kick obsessed.

Although there is a clear argument for preparing players to deal with the nerve-shredding tension of the dreaded spot-kicks, Kopke insists it is impossible to replicate the same fraught environment exhausted players face.

“It is nearly impossible to “practise” penalty shoot-outs in training, it doesn’t yield much in terms of results, because you can’t really simulate the psychological pressure goalkeepers and players will be under,” said Kopke.

“The players just whack it in when it comes to training and you can’t really recreate that pressure, so it makes little sense to practise penalties.

“As far as I am concerned, I hated (penalties) when I was a player.

“Sometimes you have to lure the goalkeeper the other way, or wait until the last possible moment for him to have moved before you kick.”

Kopke did reveal Germany’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will be fully briefed about what to expect against the Italians should Thursday’s game come down to penalties and the Germans will have done their homework.

By the same token, the German goalkeeping staff will know, and have passed on to their players, all of the habits and preferences Italy shot-stopper Gianluigi Buffon favours between the posts by Thursday.

After Italy’s 33-year-old man-of-the-match Andrea Pirlo converted their second spot-kick with an audacious kick past England goalkeeper Joe Hart on Sunday, Kopke said the cheeky chip showed the Italian midfielder’s class.

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“Taking the penalty like that was cheeky, especially with Italy 2-1 down and if that hadn’t gone in, they would probably have gone out,” said Kopke.

“As a keeper, you don’t really reckon that someone would dare take a penalty in that fashion.

“Pirlo had a very good match, he really took control of the game, especially when the English were beaten by their own fatigue.

“Germany are a fairly young team, but with experience, and we hope the game won’t be decided by penalties, we want to get to the final before all that.”

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