20 Worst Penalty Misses in World Football History

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterJanuary 19, 2012

20 Worst Penalty Misses in World Football History

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    Taking a penalty should be one of the easiest football skills to master. As history has shown us, though, it's quite the opposite.

    From Baggio to Beckham to Waddle and Pearce, badly taken penalties have provided some of world football's most famous moments. But not all the bad penalties rest safely in the fuzzy realm of nostalgia. Today's stars, from Terry to Totti to even Neymar, are just as guilty as their footballing forebears.

    This is a list of the 20 worst penalty misses in world football history. In compiling these rankings, we considered several factors, including the occasion and the awfulness of each penalty.

    What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

20. Wayne Rooney, Manchester United vs. Arsenal, 2010

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    Here's a pre-hairplug Wazza skyrocketing a penalty over the bar against Arsenal. Run-of-the-mill stuff, really.

    That's a great run-up, and it serves as a great warmup to our countdown.

19. Francesco Totti, as Roma vs. Lecce, 2007

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    Totti always tries so hard to look cool. Here's a suggestion, Franny: Just take the penalty.

    Extra points for getting punked by the goalkeeper afterwards.

18. Alessandro Del Piero, Juventus vs. Aston Villa, 2009

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    This one happened in the Peace Cup, which we're pretty sure was made up by Aston Villa to ensure they win at least one piece of silverware every century.

    For this penalty to work, you have to fool the goalie. The goalie wasn’t fooled.

17. Neymar, Santos, 2010

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    Same thing as Del Piero and Totti, with two subtle differences.

    1. Neymar telegraphed it way too much. Everyone knew he was going to do that.

    2. He celebrated after winning the penalty. Bad karma, dude.

16. Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, 2009

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    Come on, Landycakes, act like you want to be there.

    He was right to take off his captain's armband after that effort.

    Also, the commentator totally jinxed him.

15. Pavol Durica, Fehervar vs. Debrecen, Hungarian Cup, 2009

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    Actually, Durica didn’t take the penalty at all. The guy who took it was a striker with Debrecen.

    So why does it make the list? It's here because the penalty was so awful that Durica decided to step in and show him how it’s done—by scoring with a glorious shot into his own net.

14. William, Botafogo, 2008

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    The idea was OK. But you have to kick the ball harder than your grandmother would.

13. Martin Palermo, Argentina, 1999 Copa America

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    Three misses in one match. We're speechless.

12. John Terry, Chelsea vs. Manchester United, 2008 Champions League Final

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    Poor John Terry. The grass was so slippery!

    Not that any other players seemed bothered by it.

    We suppose we'd be upset too. Chelsea would have won the Champions League if Terry had scored.

    Instead, not.

11. Asamoah Gyan, Ghana vs. Uruguay, 2010 World Cup Quarterfinals

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    Had Asamoah Gyan scored this penalty against Uruguay in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals, Ghana would have become the first African team to advance to a World Cup semifinal.

    Instead, not.

10. Mehmet Aurelio, 2010

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    Uhm, Mehmet? The goal is that way, dude.

9. Robert Pires, Arsenal, 2005

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    This is pure stupidity from two of the most stylish players the Premiership has ever seen: Arsenal's Robert Pires and Thierry Henry.

    Here's how it's supposed to work.

8. Amir Sayoud, Al Ahly, 2011

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    Ever wonder if one can be booked for taking a penalty? Wonder no more.

7. Chris Waddle, England vs. West Germany, 1990 World Cup Semifinals

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    Both Waddle and Stuart Pearce missed penalties for England in the 1990 World Cup semifinal shootout against West Germany.

    Pearce's shot actually hit the target (fast-forward to 11:45 to see it).

    Waddle's didn't (fast-forward to 12:30 to sort of see it, or see the 2:25 mark of this video for a better view) and his miss sent England home.

    That's why it makes the list.

6. Michel Platini, France vs. Brazil, 1986 World Cup Quarterfinals

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    French legend Michel Platini took this awful penalty in a World Cup 1986 quarterfinal shootout against Brazil.

    It would rank much higher, but France actually won the shootout before being eliminated by West Germany in the semis.

    Still, that's just plain bad.

5. Pat Nevin, Chelsea vs. Manchester City, 1984-85

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    Wee Pat Nevin had a great idea for a penalty: Try to beat the keeper before he’s ready.

    There was just one problem. For it to work, the keeper needed to not be ready.

4. David Beckham, England vs. Portugal, Euro 2004 Quartefinals

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    Hilariously awful, as the Portuguese fans immediately realized.

    Beckham took England's first kick and missed. England lost the shootout 6-5.

3. Roberto Baggio, Italy vs. Brazil, 1994 World Cup Final

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    Possibly the most costly penalty miss in world football history.

    Roberto Baggio needed to convert this penalty to keep Italy alive against Brazil in the 1994 World Cup final shootout.

    He missed. Badly.

2. Peter Devine, Lancaster City vs. Whitley Bay, 1991

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    As bad as Baggio's penalty was, it couldn't approach the awesome awfulness of this…kick (?) by Lancaster City's Peter Devine against Whitley Bay in 1991.

    Besides the obvious hilarity, this miss is great because Devine somehow managed to injure himself.

1. Diana Ross, 1994 World Cup Pre-Match Ceremony

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    Baggio should keep his chin up. His wasn't even the worst penalty miss of the 1994 World Cup final.

    That honor belongs to the immortal Diana Ross, who did this in the pre-match festivities.

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