Penalties are never fun to watch, whether you’re a fan of the team gifted such an attempt for a goal, or forced to put all your faith in the man between the sticks, the spot kick situation is agonising for fans of any team (especially if you’re English)
What about the players who step up to the challenge of providing instant glory or agonising heartbreak? Surely the instinctual thought of any player who walks to the 12 yard spot is to smash it past the keeper? For many players, penalty taking has become an art form, absorbing the pressure, and channelling it into a successful attempt. Yet for others, their footballing brain decides to take a vacation, leading to some truly horrendous penalty kicks. Here are the worst ten:
- John Terry: Chelsea Vs Manchester United
Let’s start with a classic, the Champions League final in 2008. Chelsea and Manchester United had fought all the way to a final penalty shoot out. John Terry stepped up to take the spot kick that could fulfil Chelsea’s long awaited ambition to win the big one. Unfortunately for Terry his standing leg decided to take a tumble out of Moscow and fluff the final kick, gifting United the trophy.
- David Beckham: England Vs Portugal
A great player, one of the finest dead ball specialists in English history. Unfortunately for Beckham, he seemed to pick up the nasty virus that prevents any England player from being successful in an international shoot-out. This remarkably bad penalty nearly wound up being renamed a conversion for rugby, as Becks manages to sling the ball into row z.
- Robert Pires: Arsenal Vs Manchester City
Pires was always known as one of the Premier Leagues most gifted, and flamboyant midfielders. Working in tangent with the incredible talent of Henry, they would cut through defenders with ease. Against City in 2005, Pires attempted to pass a penalty to Henry, a technique made famous by Cruyff in the 80’s. However he successfully wound up giving away a free kick, a truly embarrassing moment for the two Frenchmen.
- Robin Van Persie: Manchester United Vs Southampton
Wildly regarded as one of the most clinical, and composed strikers in the world, Van Persie temporarily allowed that to cloud his judgement against a spirited Southampton side. With United struggling to break the Saints down, they were awarded a penalty, that surely Van Persie would slam into the back of the net? The Dutchman instead tried to chip it into the middle of the goal, and was collected easily by the Southampton keeper, leaving last seasons top scorer red faced.
- Del Piero: Juventus vs Aston Villa
Normally someone you can rely on at any time to score a penalty, the man known as Mr Juventus somehow created one of the most pathetic penalties ever seen. With his kick set to decide who won the Peace Cup in 2009, the resulting penalty almost looked like a simple pass to the goalkeeper. Whether he was trying to trick the keeper or not, it was horrific to watch, and only gets funnier every time you see it.
- Gareth Southgate: England Vs Germany
What list of penalty howlers would be work without this one, the one that remains etched into the broken hearts of every England fan during Euro 96. With a penalty shoot-out commencing against arch rivals Germany, Southgate bravely stepped forward to take the deciding spot kick. The heart of the Three Lions did not favour him though, as he tragically missed the penalty that would have sent England through.
- Arjen Robben: Bayern Munich Vs Chelsea
- Jonathan Soriano: Red Bull Salzburg Vs Rapid Wien
- Frank Ribery: Munich Vs Stuttgart
It seems the Frenchman’s colossal nose can hinder him sometimes. How else could his pathetic attempt of a penalty against Stuttgart be justified? With the air of arrogance that could make even the most smelliest of skunks wince, Ribery nonchalantly chipped a penalty straight into the opposing goalkeepers hands.
- Mehmet Aurelio: Betis Vs Gimnastic
Mentioning this miss doesn’t do it justice, the suggestion being you type the name into YouTube and see for yourself. A penalty that would have ensured Betis were promoted comfortably, Aurelio manages to not just miss, and not just sky it. Somehow he manages to slice it better than the likes of Tiger Woods so far wide and high, it almost counted for a throw in. In terms of horrifying spot kicks, this is the worst of them all.
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