It’s just the goalkeeper and you. Twelve yards away from the goal, one shot can change everything. Penalty kicks are meant to be easy, right? But as history has shown us time and again, they are anything but.
From missed shots to slips, the best of the best have faltered at this seemingly simple task. Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable moments in penalty kick history.
Baggio’s Miss: The Costliest Penalty of All Time
In the 1994 World Cup final, Italy had their eyes set on lifting the trophy. But when the match went to a penalty shootout, the nation’s hopes rested on the shoulders of Roberto Baggio, their star player. Unfortunately, Baggio missed his penalty, and Italy lost the match.
The miss had a profound impact on Baggio’s career. He was never able to fully recover from the disappointment, and the incident became a defining moment in his career.
Terry’s Slip: A Comic Element for Some, But Not for Terry
In the 2008 Champions League final, Chelsea faced off against Manchester United. In the penalty shootout, Chelsea captain John Terry had the chance to score the winning goal. But he slipped, and the ball hit the post. Manchester United went on to win the match.
The moment was a devastating blow for Terry, who later admitted that the incident still haunts him to this day.
Gyan’s Miss: A Devastating Blow for Ghana
In the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals, Ghana faced off against Uruguay. With the score tied at 1-1, Ghana was awarded a penalty in the dying moments of the match. Asamoah Gyan, the team’s star player, stepped up to take the shot. But he missed.
The miss was a devastating blow for Ghana, who went on to lose the match. It was also a defining moment in Gyan’s career, as he was unable to shake off the disappointment.
Youngsters Falter: Southgate’s Regrets
In the 1996 European Championship, England faced off against Germany in the semifinals. The match went to a penalty shootout, and England’s hopes rested on the shoulders of Gareth Southgate, who missed his penalty.
In the 2020 European Championship final, Southgate was in the manager’s seat. He made the controversial decision to substitute experienced players for young ones before the penalty shootout. The move backfired, as Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho missed their penalties, and England lost to Italy.
Messi vs Chile: The Weight of Expectations
Lionel Messi is one of the greatest footballers of all time. But he has struggled in crucial moments, particularly when it comes to penalties. In the 2016 Copa America final, Argentina faced off against Chile. The match went to a penalty shootout, and Messi missed his penalty. Check out How Argentina got a goal after 37 passes.
The miss was a devastating blow for Messi, who had already lost five finals for his nation. It was also a defining moment in his career, as he announced his retirement from international football shortly afterwards.
Penalty kicks may seem like a simple task, but they can be the most nerve-wracking moments in football. From Baggio to Messi, the best of the best have faltered under the weight of expectations. These moments remind us that even the greatest players are human, and that football can be a cruel game.