Forty years of the Panenka penalty – the top five

Date published: Monday 20th June 2016 2:25

Andrea Pirlo, Francesco Totti and Lionel Messi feature as TEAMtalk selects the top five chipped penalties 40 years to the day since Antonin Panenka first tried it.

On June 20, 1976 Antonin Panenka wrote his name into football folklore with a famous chipped winning penalty as Czechoslovakia beat West Germany in a shoot-out to become European champions.

The audacious technique has been attempted at all levels of the game since, with varying degrees of success. Here, TEAMtalk selects five of the best…

5. Francesco Totti: Holland v Italy, Euro 2000

The Italy star had already seen what can go wrong from the spot as he stepped up to take Italy’s third kick in the semi-final shoot-out following a 0-0 draw. Holland had already missed four penalties, with Frank De Boer and Patrick Kluivert both wasting opportunities from 12 yards in normal time, while Stam and De Boer again blew it in the shoot-out.

Stam’s skier preceded Totti, who retained his coolness (of course he did) to dink the ball past Edwin van der Sar in front of a wall of orange at the Amsterdam Arena.


4. Lionel Messi: Barcelona v Getafe, 2015.

Messi has missed more penalties for Barca than anyone else in the club’s illustrious history, but that wasn’t obvious when he stepped up in the opening 10 minutes of the late April clash with Getafe as the Catalan club chased the Treble.

The Argentina star dinked his spot-kick down the middle, setting Barca up for a 6-0 win. Nothing particularly special about that, you might think, but Antonin Panenka was very impressed.

“The execution was the best I’ve ever seen,” said the penalty king. “Not too powerful, central, good elevation,”


3. Sebastian Abreu: Uruguay v Ghana, World Cup 2010.

Nicknamed ‘El Loco’ (‘the Crazy One’), the then-34-year-old came off the bench as Uruguay squeezed into a penalty shoot out after Luis Suarez’s infamous handball and Asamoah Gyan’s missed spot-kick in the dying seconds of extra-time.

Almost no one out side of Uruguay wanted the South Americans to bundle out the brave Ghanaians, but after John Mensah and Dominic Adiyiah had missed their attempts, El Loco did just that with a brilliantly-executed chip. Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said afterwards: ”It wasn’t crazy. I call that class.”


2. Andrea Pirlo: Italy v England, Euro 2012.

The second Italian effort in a shootout to feature in the top five, but Pirlo’s could make a case for being the very best.

After bossing the Euro 2102 last 16 clash in Kiev, Pirlo opted to wipe the smile off Joe Hart’s face by delicately dinking the ball past the goalkeeper as he flew off to his right.

The context makes Pirlo’s courage and execution even more impressive. Italy trailed early in the shootout after Riccardo Montolivo had missed their second kick, but in holding his nerve, Pirlo made England lose theirs. Ashleys Young and Cole both missed their subsequent attempts, leaving Italy to take their place in the semi-finals.


1. Zinedine Zidane: Italy v France, 2006.

There is no bigger stage than a World Cup final to try a Panenka. This was Zidane’s final game before retirement, and in his way stood the great Gianluigi Buffon. Still, Zidane pulled it off – just.

The France star clipped his seventh-minute kick against the underside of the crossbar but the ball bounced on the right side of the line before spinning back into Buffon’s arms via the bar again.

It would have been a fitting way for Zidane to bow out. However…


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