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World Cup Penalties In A Nutshell

Penalties are fantastic. They’re razor-wire do-or-die. Sort the hero from the villain. Overwhelm the senses in agonising tension and petrifying suspense. Rarely does something that matters so much to so many rest on the shoulders of one man.

Roberto Baggio, 1994

Probably the most famous penalty miss in World Cup history, an infamy helped in part by the Italian’s ludicrous ponytail, Baggio’s kick pelted to the heavens to punctuate the end of an immensely disappointing 0-0 stalemate. It was a repeat of the amazing 1970 final but the game could’ve hardly been less spectacular. There should be little wonder as to why American’s remain so unenthusiastic about the game.


David Batty, 1998

England’s game against Argentina in the last 16 of World Cup ’98 is remembered more for the petulance and naivety of a young David Beckham than David Batty, though it was the then Newcastle midfielder who ultimately sent England home.


The game was also noted for Campbell’s disallowed goal and Michael Owen’s stunning solo effort put England back in front. Paul Ince’s penalty miss is remembered less well as Hernan Crespo’s miss compensated. Batty was not so lucky.

David Trezeguet, 2006

Italian football had endured a torrid time prior to the 2006 World Cup. Quarrels surrounding television rights and numerous match fixing allegations – culminating in Juventus being stripped of their scudetto title – had threatened the stability and the dignity of Italy’s top league. So the 2006 cup win came not only as a surprise, but also as an immense relief.


Then Palermo full-back Fabio Grosso scored the winning penalty but David Trezeguet’s effort cannoning off the bar had gifted the Italians the advantage.

Roberto Donadoni, 1990

While at AC Milan, Roberto Dondoni had achieved remarkable success. The Italian winger, who scored the final goal of a 5-0 romp over Real Madrid in a European Cup semi-final in 1989, won five scudetto’s, three European Cups, three European Super Cups and two Intercontinental Cups. He failed to get his hands on the World Cup thanks to the remarkable pounce of Sergio Goycochea in a semi-final penalty shoot-out against Argentina.


Stuart Pearce, 1990

England have only ever won one of their six penalty shoot-outs in their history. ‘Psycho’s effort against Germany in the semi-final of 1990 demonstrated how easily nerves on the world stage could unhinge even the more experience and more confident penalty takers. Peace’s redemption would come six years later, slotting away another penalty against the Germans in Euro 96.


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