When you’re playing an important final or playoff game and your team is in desperate need of a goal, you must think of ways to fool the opponent’s goalkeeper. The best Panenka penalties ever taken are among the most genius ways to that.
When your team is awarded a penalty, you don’t have too many options. Nor does the keeper. He just has to decide if he goes left or right and stick to that decision no matter what. That’s the only way he can stand a chance. A moment of hesitation from the keeper’s part is a definite goal for the taker – in case he finds the goal.
The taker, just like the keeper, also has to have a self-confidence level over 100%, and they also must believe in their choice. They must pick a side and stick to that. Only the bravest of the bravest dare to shoot exactly where the keeper stands. Let’s see a few examples of those players who mocked the goalies successfully in the toughest of situations.
1. Antonín Panenka and the very first Panenka goal ever
The Euro 1976 final was decided in a penalty shootout. West Germany played against Czechoslovakia and they failed to beat one another. Online sportsbook sites in the UK would have thought of the German team as favourites, but the match ended in a 2-2 draw. The trophy’s fate had to be decided in the hardest way there is. It’s not a game of luck, it’s a game of mental superiority. The psychology of football, so to say.
In 1976, Panenka penalties hadn’t existed. Nobody has ever taken a penalty without power, into the center. Everyone always chose left or right but nobody realized this was an option. Until the Euro 1976 final, when Czechoslovakia’s #7, Antonin Panenka went on to take his turn. It was the 5th round. No Czech players have missed till then.
How to write history books 101 by Professor Panenka
On the other hand, Germany’s Uli Hoeness just missed his penalty. It was 4-3, if Panenka misses, it’s another chance for Germany. If Panenka scores, however, it’s all over. In a situation like that, you need to be as mentally strong as humanly possible. Millions of thoughts circle around and you have to keep focused.
In this situation, only the greatest of the greatest would dare to do the Panenka. Remember, in 1976, there is no such thing as the Panenka penalty. Antonin Panenka decided to take a powerless penalty into the center of the goal, exactly from where the keeper moved right. He could have gone left either, didn’t matter. Panenka made history. And he became role model for many.
2. Hélder Postiga broke the English confidence back in 2004
In 2004, Portugal hosted the European Championship. They were to face England in the Quarter-Finals in a game where online sportsbook sites in Portugal went clueless. It was an unpredictable playoff with two great teams featuring the likes of Deco, Lampard, Rui Costa, Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, to mention only a few of them…
The game ended in a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes and 2-2 after extra time. The qualification was left on to a penalty shootout in which England started horribly: Beckham shot the ball up in the air. Portugal got an early lead but England equalized in the 3rd round as Rui Costa missed his chance. The sixth – after the ‘last’ – round was coming up. One miss, and you’re out.
Bad Luck Helder: When you do the Panenka but your goalie still steals the show
Ricardo stayed in the center, but Lampard chose the right side. 5-4 for England. Hélder Postiga comes next. If he scores, the shootout continues. If he misses, England’s in the SFs. Postiga, as calm as he was, chose the center of the pitch. He did the Panenka in a situation that could have cost his nation the semi-finals.
But he was right: David James went right, the ball slowly went to the goal, equalizing for Portugal. And breaking England’s perfect run ever since the very first miss by Beckham. First Ricardo saved Darius Vassel’s penalty in the 7th round, then went on to take the very last penalty and put Portugal in the semi-finals. Not with a Panenka though!
3. Zidane took one of the best penalties ever – in a World Cup final!
It was the unforgettable 2006 World Cup Final between France and Italy. France was awarded an early penalty, Zidane took it. He was facing the best goalkeeper of that time, Gianluigi Buffon. However, the French legend didn’t over-analyze the situation. He elegantly sent Buffon to the side and lobbed the ball perfectly: to the bottom of the bar.
It was the very last match Zidane ever played in. Winning the trophy could have been the perfect end to his outstanding career, but that’s not how we remember it. Italy equalized, Materazzi provoked Zidane to headbutt him. Zidane was sent off and France lost the World Cup in the penalty shootout, where no one dared to do the Panenka.
4. Alexis Sanchez’s historic penalty won Chile’s very first Copa América trophy
Before 2015, Chile had never won the Copa América. They made it to the final 4 times before but lost all 4. In 2015, they reached the final for the 5th time. They faced Lionel Messi and Argentina. Obviously, online sportsbook sites in Chile were aware of the chances. Argentina were clear favorites according to all Copa América betting odds.
Still, the game ended in a goalless draw and went on to a penalty shootout. After the third round, Chile were leading 3-1 as Messi scored the first, but he was followed by two Argentine misses. Alexis Sanchez came on to take the 4th and supposedly the last penalty of that particular game. It was pretty simple: if you score, you win the very first continental trophy for your home nation.
Pressure? Who cares about that?
One might say it’s pretty big of a deal and even more of a pressure. That’s not what Alexis thought. The former Man Utd and Barca forward calmly went there to take the penalty and make history. Alexis Sanchez scored doing the Panenka Penalty, made history, and became a celebrated legend in Chile.
Later on, he tried again vs Costa Rica. It was only a friendly game but still, his Panenka penalty shot was a complete failure. However, one little miss does not change the fact that his Panenka penalty was one of the best Panenka penalties in football history. And definitely the best one in Chile’s history!
5. Sergio Ramos, the new King of Panenka Penalties
Sergio Ramos penalties have always been entertaining to football fans. His most memorable one used to be the one in the Champions League semi-finals against Bayern Munich. He took it in the penalty shootout and shot the ball up to the Moon. Everyone made jokes about the penalty by Sergio Ramos. He became a meme lord without his knowledge or will.
A few weeks later, Spain played against Portugal at Euro 2012, semi-finals. Everyone missed all chances. After the goalless tie, there was only one way to decide. A penalty shootout. It was 2-2 after 3 rounds, Sergio Ramos came 4th. Remember, it was only 2-3 months after he shot that penalty up in the sky against Bayern, which resulted in Real Madrid’s elimination.
Oh the times, they are a-changin’
This time he was different. He kept cool. He ran. And eventually, he sent the keeper to the left side. But just like in Panenka’s case, it didn’t matter which side he chose. Ramos weakly pushed the ball into the center. Exactly where the keeper was standing only 3 seconds ago. Ramos’s confidence lead to another Portuguese miss, and Fabregas took advantage of that, meaning Spain made it to the Euro 2012 final and beat Italy by a humiliating 4-0.
“I think Ramos is my best imitator. He’s done that more than twice, people know what to expect from him and he still succeeds. It’s incredible” – Antonín Panenka
Sergio Ramos keeps on taking the best Panenka penalties. Even Panenka told his opinion about Sergio Ramos, who scored several Panenka goals ever since. For example, twice in a row in La Liga. Will Ramos score another one of the best Panenka penalties this season? Check out the odds at the online sportsbook directory!