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Pique blames pens system for Spain Euro exit

Barcelona‘s Gerard Pique has said there is an unfair advantage for the team that goes first in a penalty shootout, in a tweet after Spain‘s defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 semifinals at Wembley on Tuesday.

Italy edged out Spain 4-2 on penalties to reach the Euro 2020 final following a 1-1 draw between the teams after extra time.

Despite going first in the shootout, Roberto Mancini’s side started on the back foot after their first penalty taker, Manuel Locatelli, had his shot saved by Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon. However, two misses from Spain allowed the Italians to come back and win the game.

Pique, who won the Euros with Spain in 2012, said “it was no coincidence” that penalty shootouts in both Euro 2020 and the Copa America had been won by the team that goes up to the spot first.

“It is no coincidence that the four rounds that have been so much in the Euro 2020 like in the Copa America the team that shoots first has won.” Pique said.

“Statistics say that the former has more options and in a tournament like this it does not seem fair to me that a draw should make you start at a disadvantage.”

Every penalty shootout in Euro 2020 and Copa America has been won by the team who went first. In the Euros round of 16, Switzerland went first and beat France but then lost to Spain in the quarterfinals when they went up to the spot second. In the Copa America, Colombia beat Uruguay in the quarterfinals on penalties after going first.

On Tuesday, both Italy in the Euros and Argentina in the Copa America won after stepping up to the spot first.

However, research has shown that the team who starts the shootout will win in only 60% of occasions.

Previous attempts at changing the penalty shootout system have been unsuccessful.

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