Euro 2016: Bastian Schweinsteiger explains why he chose to take penalties in front of the Italian fans
Superstition or not, the decision paid off as the World Champions reach the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
The pick of the fixtures in the UEFA Euro 2016 quarterfinals had one of the most dramatic and bizarre penalty shoot-outs in the history of the competition. After 120 minutes of football in the Nouveau Stade De Bordeaux failed to produce a winner, penalties became necessary.
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The Match - As It Happened
Joachim Low adopted a different tactical approach to the game as he preferred to use a 3-4-2-1 system over the usual 4-2-3-1. Antonio Conte’s side came into the game with the confidence gained after knocking out the defending champions, Spain, in a convincing 2-0 victory.
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The German manager’s tactics paid off as his side controlled the game and were the better side throughout the match. Even though the world champions had a lot of possession, it took them quite a bit of time to unlock the Italian defence. The Germans took the lead in the in the 65th minute through Mesut Ozil who finished off a wonderful German move which involved Mario Gomez and Jonas Hector.
In a match which everybody knew was going to be a low-scoring affair, a moment of madness from Jerome Boateng gifted Italy a penalty. Bonucci converted the spot-kick and the game was deadlocked with only 12 minutes of normal time to play. Both sides failed to score later on and the game was set to be decided by penalties.
During the toss for the side for the penalty shoot-out, the German captain Bastian made a curious decision of winning the toss and choosing the side where the Italy fans were seated. The match official Victor Kassai was surprised to hear that, Schweinsteiger chose to take the spot-kicks in front of the Italian supporters after the latter had won the toss twice. The Manchester United midfielder’s decision was a bit superstitious as he explained later why he made the choice.
“I thought back how previous penalty shoot-outs went”, the former Bayern Munich star was quoted as saying by Bild.
“I remembered the shootout in Munich (Chelsea’s incredible win over Bayern Munich) when we did it at our stand. “Then I remembered the shootout in Madrid (when Bayern Munich defeated Real Madrid on penalties in the Champions League semi-finals), where we did it in front of the Madrid stand.”
“The first penalty shootout of this Euro was won by Poland, who chose to do it in front of the Swiss stand. So I thought, let’s shoot at the Italian side, and give the Italian fans something to be happy about.”
Schweinsteiger’s decision paid off as the Germans won the shoot-out even though the likes of Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, and Schweinsteiger himself failed to score. Jonas Hector broke Italian hearts as he scored the winning penalty for the reigning world champions who ended a shambolic run of eight consecutive defeats to Italy in major tournaments.