History of the Panenka Penalty in 15 Slides

Mark Jones@@Mark_Jones86Featured ColumnistNovember 28, 2013

History of the Panenka Penalty in 15 Slides

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    We've all seen it, but only a select few of us have ever had the confidence to try it.

    The Panenka penalty is perhaps the ultimate example of footballing confidence. Having the nerve and self-belief to run up to a dead ball from 12 yards, quite often when the world is watching, and seek to outfox the goalkeeper with a delicate, chipped finish requires a very special and confident individual.

    Things don't always go to plan, of course, but that only adds to the wonder of one of football's most curious phenomena.

    But how did the penalty come about? And what has been the story of it down the years?

    Here we chart the birth and history of something which often brings a smile to the faces of football fans, but not goalkeepers.

1976: How It All Began...

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    Had West Germany's Bernd Holzenbein not equalised in the 89th minute of the 1976 European Championships final in Belgrade, Antonin Panenka's moment would never have arrived.

    Panenka's Czechoslovakia had led 2-0, only for the West Germans to fight back and level through Holzenbein's late strike.

    The match went to penalties, and after Uli Hoeness missed, midfielder Panenka had the chance to win the match and the trophy for his country.

    Legendary goalkeeper Sepp Maier stood in his way, but Panenka simply ran up to the ball and, as Maier went left, nonchalantly chipped it straight down the middle to spark wild celebrations from himself, his teammates, his country and the watching continent.

    No one could believe how cool and calm he'd been, and no one watching would have known that he'd just become a football pioneer.

1992: Lineker Misses His Record Chance

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    Several Panenka attempts occurred over the following years, but one of the most famous misses came during England's friendly with Brazil at Wembley in 1992.

    With 48 goals for his country, Gary Lineker stood on the verge of equalling the record set by World Cup winner Bobby Charlton, who ended with 49 strikes for England.

    Lineker knew that his penalty would have taken him level with the Manchester United legend, but his weak chipped effort was easily saved, and the future TV presenter never managed to match Charlton.

1996: Dwight Yorke Delicately Blunts the Blades

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    Lineker had to deal with the humiliation of that miss for long into his retirement, but when the penalty comes off, it can be a spectacular sight.

    Aston Villa's Dwight Yorke demonstrated just how to do it with a delicate effort that proved to be the only goal of an FA Cup fifth-round tie at Sheffield United in 1996, when his penalty almost effortlessly looped into the centre of the goal.

    The match was broadcast to millions on prime-time television, with plenty of youngsters from the post-Panenka generation now heading out to playgrounds around the country and looking to repeat Yorke's feat.

2000: No Semi-Final Nerves for Totti

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    Fast forward to Euro 2000, and semi-final heartbreak for joint-hosts the Netherlands at the hands of Italy.

    In a match in which they'd already missed two penalties during normal time, three more Dutchmen missed from the spot at the Amsterdam Arena shootout, which then saw Francesco Totti step up to take on Edwin van der Sar. It was no contest.

    The Dutch goalkeeper went right, but Totti simply dinked the ball the other way.

2004: Landreau Proves He Should Stick to Goalkeeping

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    It is one thing for goalkeepers to try to save a Panenka penalty, but it is another one entirely for them to try to take one.

    Nantes keeper and captain Mickael Landreau had a decent record of scoring from the spot, and so in many ways he was a wise choice to take the penalty which could have won his side the 2004 French League Cup final at Sochaux's expense. It wasn't to be.

    Landreau's poor chip was saved by his opposite number Teddy Richert, and it was Sochaux who went on to lift the trophy.

2004: Postiga's Picture-Perfect Portugal Penalty

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    At Euro 2004, hosts Portugal were under immense pressure to at least reach the last four, not that Helder Postiga seemed to know that.

    The forward, considered a flop in the English game due to a less-than-fruitful spell at Tottenham Hotspur in the season prior to the championships, stepped up to a crucial penalty in quarter-final shootout against England and almost tickled it past embarrassed goalkeeper David James.

    The look on the face of midfielder Deco said it all, and the Portuguese made it through to the semis thanks to a winning strike from their goalkeeper Ricardo.

2006: 'Robot' Crouch Malfunctions

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    Scoring a hat-trick for your country is never something to be taken lightly, although Peter Crouch took a laid-back approach to the concept in England's pre-World Cup friendly against Jamaica at Old Trafford in 2006.

    Having already scored twice, the then-Liverpool forward was presented with the chance to complete his treble from the penalty spot, only to embarrassingly chip the ball over the crossbar.

    Luckily for him, though, he soon completed that hat-trick with a close-range finish that was initially meant with a sign of relief, and then his trademark "robot" celebration.

2006: Zidane Doesn't Lose His Head

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    For some players, though, the difficult can be made to look simple.

    When Florent Malouda won France a seventh-minute penalty in the 2006 World Cup final in Berlin, there was only ever going to be one man who'd take it.

    Playing in his last ever professional match, Zinedine Zidane delicately chipped the ball toward the top right corner of the goal, where it struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced down over the line.

    It wasn't the last time he'd make headlines in the match...

2010: Yann Kermorgant Can't Outfox Cardiff

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    When the 2010 Championship playoff semi-final between Cardiff and Leicester went to a penalty shootout, 22 players possessed the opportunity to become a hero and send their side to Wembley.

    Unfortunately for the Foxes, one of those players was Frenchman Yann Kermorgant, whose weak chipped effort was easily saved by Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall.

    It wasn't all bad for Kermorgant, though. He got to star in this song, which became a YouTube hit (NSFW).

2010: Suarez Hands Abreu the Chance to Be a Hero

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    Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

    Luis Suarez handled on the line, Asamoah Gyan missed from the spot and the 2010 World Cup quarter-final between Uruguay and Ghana went to penalties.

    With Suarez back in his team's changing room, it was left to reserve forward Sebastian Abreu to step up and take the penalty which could seal it for the Uruguayans.

    Seemingly feeling no pressure at all, Abreu stepped up and chipped his kick straight down the middle, with Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson falling to his right and left helpless as the ball dropped into the net.

2010: Neymar's Final Fail

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    They say that some of the truly great players can manage to exist in a reality between genius and madness, and if so, then Neymar has always been on the way toward joining the game's elite.

    When still just an 18-year-old teenager, the future Barcelona star stepped up to take a penalty in the first leg of the Copa do Brasil final against Vitoria.

    With the eyes of his nation on him, he chipped a dreadful effort straight into the hands of goalkeeper Lee, ensuring that Santos failed to improve on their 2-0 advantage.

    Their subsequent 3-2 aggregate win ensured that any bad feeling didn't last for long, though.

2011: Elano Foiled by Flamengo's Felipe

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    Staying in Brazil, the 2011 meeting between Neymar's Santos and Flamengo was seemingly the match that had everything.

    Flamengo won 5-4 largely thanks to a Ronaldinho hat-trick and despite Neymar scoring a wonder goal for the hosts, but the match might well have ended 5-5 had former Manchester City midfielder Elano not embarrassingly missed his Panenka attempt.

    Visiting goalkeeper Felipe saved the weak penalty effort, and then indulged in some keep-ups to celebrate.

2012: Ronaldo's Miss Fails to Spoil Madrid's Party

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    Real Madrid were seeking to win their 32nd La Liga title when they went to Athletic Bilbao in May 2012, but things didn't start out too well for them.

    In the 12th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo saw his early dinked penalty effort easily saved by Gorka Iraizoz; his first La Liga penalty miss for Real in 12 attempts since his move from Manchester United.

    It wasn't long until normal service was resumed, though, with goals from Gonzalo Higuain, Mesut Ozil and, typically, Ronaldo sealing the league title for Jose Mourinho.

2012: Pirlo Breaks England's Hart

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Quite how Italy's Euro 2012 quarter-final against England went to penalties remains a mystery.

    The Italians battered Roy Hodgson's side for the vast majority of the game in Kiev, but they couldn't break through the English defence and so were required to try to win the game from the spot.

    A miss from Riccardo Montolivo put England in the box seat, only for Andrea Pirlo to display almost outrageous confidence in chipping the ball down the centre of the goal and past goalkeeper Joe Hart.

    The strike seemed to shatter England, who then bowed out following misses from Ashley Young and Ashley Cole. 

2010: But It Doesn't Always Go to Plan for the Italian

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    As we've seen, though, the Panenka has a habit of going wrong as well as right.

    Two years before that moment in Kiev, Pirlo had been embarrassed when attempting the same thing for AC Milan in a friendly against Barcelona at the Nou Camp, something which makes his England penalty even more astounding.

    As we've seen with the Panenka, though, logic doesn't often come into the equation.


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