A penalty sorts out the men from the boys. It’s potentially the easiest of goals. A “square go” at the keeper. Sometimes, however, the pressure gets all too much. Here are some of our favourites. Please add your own in the comments section.
1- Alessandro Del Piero
He won’t forget the spot kick he took against Aston Villa in the Peace Cup back in 2009. All he had to do was hit the target and Juventus could lift the cup. Whether it was the nerves that got to him or simply indecision, it’s not certain. What is for certain is that he hit a low and very slow strike straight at the keeper. Much to the delight of the Villa fans whose team eventually went on to win.
2- Robin van Persie
A 71% strike rate with penalties in his career overall. Not particularly high and effort against Southampton was a pretty poor one. The goalie saw it coming and didn’t really have to move to much to comfortably collect.
3- Dimitar Berbatov
Now one guy you would expect to hit the target is Bulgaria’s all-time highest goalscorer. His penalty against Everton in the FA Cup Semi Final was more of a pass than a strike. Not his finest hour.
Now sometimes it can pay to be a little different. Instead of a full on strike, maybe try something the goalkeeper isn’t expecting to try and catch him out. Quite possibly, the goalie wasn’t expecting Neymar’s “chip”, but it went straight towards him and was cleanly caught.
5- Roberto Baggio
No-one wants to face Brazil in a penalty shoot-out, though it has been said, it’s often the best way to try and beat them. Roberto Baggio’s attempt to lower Brazilian heads didn’t go to plan with the ball rocketing high above the crossbar and possibly the stand too. Whoever found the ball probably made a pretty penny on Ebay.
6- Ruud Van Nistelrooy
When a rival team such as Arsenal are going through the season unbeaten, one of the best ways to dent their confidence is to stick a penalty away. Van Nistelrooy had a great chance to do just that. He stepped up to take aim and it was just about as perfect a penalty as you could hope to take. It was just the small matter of the crossbar getting in the way. An inch lower and it would have been “job done”.
7- David Beckham
Who could forget his penalty miss against Turkey in 2003? He no doubt has nightmares about it even now. The spot kick itself was more of a “roundhouse” effort (possibly something he’d been practicing in training). It may have worked in training, but not on this occasion as it comfortably cleared the bar and went into orbit.
8- John Terry
Chelsea were all set to land the Champions League. It was just up to John Terry to stick away a penalty and the celebrations could begin. There was an awed hush amongst the Chelsea fans who held each other’s arm, in anticipation of the cheer. It didn’t come as Terry fluffed his lines. The rest is history.
9- Sergio Ramos
Ramos lost his cool during a penalty shootout against Bayern Munich. The winner would land a place in the Champions League final. His teammates had set it up nicely for him and all he had to do was hit the target. Instead he blasted it well over the bar, sending rivals Bayern into the final.
When the pressure is on, even the best can have “off days”. This time it was Spanish goldenboy Raul. In the quarter finals of Euro 2000, Spain needed to score to avoid crashing out of the tournament. Instead it was another sky-high effort, which let France off the hook.