Penalty shootouts in football can evoke a mix of emotions, ranging from exhilaration to heartbreak. Throughout the sport’s history, there have been several unforgettable penalty misses that left fans shocked and players devastated. Here are five of the most notorious penalty misses in football’s past:
1. 1994 FIFA World Cup Final – Roberto Baggio: In the crucial moment of the 1994 World Cup final between Italy and Brazil, the legendary Italian striker, Roberto Baggio, had the chance to equalize and force a sudden-death shootout. Unfortunately, he blasted his penalty over the bar, handing Brazil the victory and leaving Baggio inconsolable on the pitch.
2. 2008 UEFA Champions League Final – John Terry: The 2008 Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester United witnessed a memorable penalty miss. With a chance to secure the title for Chelsea, club captain John Terry slipped as he took his penalty, sending the ball wide of the goal. Chelsea eventually lost the shootout, and Terry’s miss became an enduring image of heartbreak.
3. 2015 Copa America Quarter-final – Neymar: During the 2015 Copa America, Brazil faced Paraguay in the quarter-finals. The match ended in a draw, and in the penalty shootout, Brazil’s star player Neymar sent his shot soaring over the crossbar, leading to Brazil’s elimination from the tournament.
4. 1990 FIFA World Cup Semi-final – Chris Waddle: In the 1990 World Cup semi-final between England and West Germany, the match went into a tense penalty shootout. Chris Waddle’s decisive miss occurred in a sudden-death situation, crushing England’s hopes of reaching the final.
5. 2010 FIFA World Cup Quarter-final – Asamoah Gyan: In the 2010 World Cup quarter-final between Ghana and Uruguay, with the score level at the end of extra time, Asamoah Gyan had the opportunity to become a national hero by converting a penalty and taking Ghana to their first-ever World Cup semi-final. However, he struck the crossbar, and Uruguay eventually won the shootout.
These penalty misses serve as enduring reminders of the immense pressure and unpredictability of penalty shootouts, which can make or break a player’s and a nation’s dreams on the football field.