13 Worst Penalty Kicks in Football History
Taking a penalty kick is arguably the most nerve-racking duty a footballer can perform. Whether it's taken to tie the game, score the winner or simply put the game beyond reach for the opposition, taking a penalty is no laughing matter for the footballer.
For us fans, though, there are few moments more exciting than watching a player step up to the spot. It's the classic "one vs. one," and whether you're an absorbed fan or passive neutral, when the referee points to the spot, everyone tunes in.
Simply put, it's one of the reasons football—world over, regardless of league or nation—is so passionately revered, followed and loved.
This video slideshow highlights some of the very worst penalty kicks in the history of the sport. Some missed by designated kick-takers, many of them distinguished, who regularly score them for club and country. And others by players "just filling in."
Many of them, simply hilarious or mind-boggling.
P.S: I acknowledge, given the subjectivity of this sort of topic, that everyone may not agree with the video's that I've chosen. Feel free to disagree and post links in the comments section to other penalties that you feel should have made the list.
Batuhan Karadeniz | Turkey U-17s
Batuhan Karadeniz's penalty doesn't make the list simply because he missed it.
It was his audacity at calling a corner—the top right one—and then hitting it straight at the keeper that inducts him into our slideshow. Had he just simply "gotten on with it" and then missed as he did, this kick would probably have not made the rounds in cyberspace.
The fact that it was in a major semi-final against France, though, also adds to the damage.
Alessandro Del Piero | Juventus
This one falls in the category of "regular penalty kick takers getting it horribly wrong."
Alessandro Del Piero, one of Italy's and Serie A's most decorated player, with a dismal effort against Aston Villa in 2009's Peace Cup Final. Juventus eventually lost the match, despite being strong favourites.
Dimitar Berbatov | Manchester United
Given the periphery of the occasion—an FA Cup semi-final showdown versus Everton—Dimitar Berbatov may have been forgiven for missing a penalty kick.
But given his apparent lack of effort, conviction, and in this case direction, with this kick, it's not hard to see why this makes it into the list.
Landon Donovan | LA Galaxy
Landon Donovan, arguably the MLS's poster boy and marquee player, steps up to try and help his team in 2009's MLS Cup penalty shootout. The outcome: disaster.
Neymar | Santos
Chipped penalties are a joy to watch. It's arguably the benchmark of confidence that a player ascribes to.
It can though, go horribly wrong if the keeper decides against diving to a side and sits put. That's exactly what happened with Neymar here. Unlucky perhaps, but a horrible penalty nevertheless.
Thierry Henry & Robert Pires
Given both Thierry Henry and Robert Pires' immaculate record of converting penalties, it's really worth wondering why the pair decided to go this route instead of the conventional one.
We've all seen Roberto Baggio's infamous penalty miss against Brazil in the 1994 World Cup Final.
Not a single one of us though has yet figured out just how the Italian legend managed to do that.
Asamoah Gyan | Ghana
Star striker Asamoah Gyan was gifted the responsibility of guiding Ghana into the semi finals of the FIFA World Cup in 2010. It would have been a historic moment in African football, as no African team had progressed that far before.
Unfortunately for Ghana (and all of Africa, really), Gyan made a mess of it, as he managed to miss the target completely. Uruguay eventually went on to win the game.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy | Manchester United
There's no doubting the amount of pressure on Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy as he stepped up to take a penalty kick against league rivals Arsenal in the dying moments of the match.
Unfortunately for the Dutchman, he only managed to hit the bar. Arsenal went on to record their most successful English Premier League season in history, as they completed an unprecedented unbeaten season.
All that could have been different had only van Nistelrooy's kick been a few inches lower.
David Beckham | England
David Bekham's infamous penalty miss versus Turkey in 2003 had little consequence, as England were still able to qualify for the next year's Euro tournament in Portugal.
The miss, though, is infamous for different reasons.
Amir Sayoud | Al-Ahly
Though the penalty outcome would have been of little consequence given the scoreline at the time (4-0), Amir Sayoud was able to write himself into the annals of penalty-taking history with this one.
Sayoud has now been loaned out to fellow Egyptian side Al-Ismaily from his home team Al-Ahly. Whether this has anything to do with the penalty miss in question is yet to be determined.
The Worst Penalty Kick Ever?
The player's name, club and league information seems to have evaded everyone in cyberspace. After watching this horrid miss however, you could argue that it probably has worked out in his favour.
Still, no names or information is really needed for this one. Shambolic all over.
John Terry | Chelsea
After years of investing huge sums of Russian owner Roman Abromovich's money, Chelsea seemed just inches away (literally) from winning the trophy that eluded them for so many years—the coveted UEFA Champions League crown.
Perhaps to add an element of symbolism, it was captain John Terry who stepped up to take the penalty. The rest, as they say, is history.
Two years on, Chelsea are still trying to win their first UEFA Champions League crown.
Agree or disagree? Leave your comments in the section below, or simply tweet/follow me @saqibddb.