(to) Choke

To not perform well under pressure (see also bottle). If a team chokes then they throw away a chance of winning when it looks like they should win. We also use this when a team is expected or favoured to win but doesn’t play well and loses instead.
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  • Example: Holland choked against Russia in the Euro 2008 quarter-final match and were beaten 3-1.
  • Example: England’s national team have been accused of choking in penalty competitions at major tournaments: they’ve lost shoot-outs in 1990, 1996, 2004, 2006 and 2012.

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