In honour of Charlie Adam’s penalty returning to earth at some stage today and the general lack of quality on offer during the Carling Cup final penalty shoot-out, we’ve gone through the annals of awful penalties to bring you a selection of spot-kicks that are actually worse than the ones unleashed at Wembley yesterday.
The first batch we’re calling JPAs – Just Plain Awful. The takers aren’t trying to be especially cheeky (well, maybe a little bit). Amir Sayoud of Egyptian giants, Al Alhy best sums up the genre with his attempts to bamboozle the Kima Aswan goalkeeper in this cup tie. Trying to make the keeper commit with his stuttering run-up, he gets it all wrong and sends a space hopper trickling towards the goal at minimal velocity ending up with a face full of grass for his troubles. Sadly, his team were already 4-0 up and went through comfortably, but the referee did book him. It went down as ‘ungentlemanly conduct’ but we know it was really for ‘being a bit of a nob’.
The Peace Cup is a tournament so insignificant and pointless it makes the Carling Cup look like a World Cup final, but it did provide us with this moment of penalty fail hilarity. The master of impossibly thin sideburns and eternal youth, Alessandro Del Piero tried to roll one down the middle, resulting in a save that even Brad Guzan couldn’t fumble into his own net.
2. Passing penalty fails
Johann Cruyff got it right, but countless others have got it wrong. Aleksandr Geynrikh tried to put his own slightly unique spin on it when Uzbekistan took on Russian club, Zenit St. Petersburg for some reason. The reason was it was the winter break from the Russian season and his team were already losing 5-0 which means the major consequence of his bout of showy arrogance was a mild dose of YouTube-based embarrassment. Stick with it until the end, because as a nice little postscript, in an attempt to atone for the crap penalty, he blasts his retaken attempt over.
Still though, the undoubted daddy of the arrogant pass penalty fail is the Henry/Pires balls-up of 2005. Not even a ham-fisted voiceover from Adrian Chiles can diminish the amusement.
3. The Trickle Shot
“Dear oh dear, I don’t believe it. I hope I’m not being too unkind to Pat Nevin, a player of undoubted quality, but that has to be the worst penalty I’ve ever seen at this level of football.”
As he was prone to doing, the brilliant Barry Davies hit the nail on the head with his summary of Nevin’s effort against Man City way back in 1984. Again, it didn’t have any great consequences as Chelsea were 4-1 up in the game, but it was a pity for Nevin. If he waited about 20 years to produce that sort of bizarrely ineffective and inexplicably poor performance for Chelsea, he’d being getting paid about £150,000 a week for it.
In a similar vein of being just stupidly poor, here’s a daisy-pusher from William of Botafogo. Background information is a little pit sparse, but it happened in 2006 in the Copa Sudamericana, South America’s version of the mixed blessing of Europe’s Europa League. His team lost to Fluminense in the semi-finals so I assume he’s still getting mocked mercilessly for it. That’s what I’d do at least.
4. High, wide and not very handsome
Without wanting to resort to hyperbole, there are about seventeen million examples of the ‘blast it over the bar’ penalty in circulation right now. Adam’s penalty yesterday falls into the category, but Chris Waddle’s beauty in the semi-finals of Italia 90 simply for it’s combination of importance, velocity and 1990s hairspray. Sadly a random Robot Wars commentary has been dubbed over the actual commentary, but this clip is the pick of the bunch visually when it comes to appreciating how much Waddle blasted it. Four skiers lost their RayBans when the ball eventually landed on the slopes of a nearby ski resort.
It’s a busy little category, but it’s practically illegal not to name-check the Divine Ponytail for his attempt in the final of USA 1994. Not at all on a stage of the same importance, is this attempt from Jay Rodriguez of Burnley. Yeah he slipped, but it went miles wide and is therefore hilarious.
5. Panenka fails
There’s nothing more mockingly beautiful than a Panenka penalty. Named after Antonin Panenka who had the kahunas to try it with the 1976 European Championship on the line, it can be a thing of beauty and sign of both extreme skill and nerve (prime example Zidane in the 2006 World Cup Final). With the traditional position of TV cameras for penalty shoot-outs, this technique of taking a spot-kick seems to tease the sense of perspective, momentarily giving you the impression it’s a disastrous penalty before gliding gracefully into the back of the net. Sometimes however, it is just a disastrous penalty as Brazilian wonderkid, Neymar showed us.
Another fantastic example comes from Spain where Antonio Calle – forgetting that a crucial ingredient for the success of the penalty is checking to see if the goalie has actually started diving – tamely chipped it into the grateful hands of Christian Alvarez. Hilarious.
Right now, you’re probably thinking I’ve left someone out, but the honourable ‘he gets is own section’ of this week goes to David Beckham, who is to penalty taking what Italian captains are to the cruise ship industry – generally perfectly successful but noted mainly for their high profile failures. Give him a dead-ball 20+ yards out and he was lethal, move it in to 12 yards out and it was a different, less successful story.
The Euro 2004 penalty shoot-out against Portugal was one his best when he went a bit Jonny Wilkinson on it and skied it into the stands. The warning signs had perhaps been on the wall from earlier in the tournament, when Becks missed a penalty to put England 2-0 up against France in the game Zidane ended winning 2-1. It was a cracking save from Barthez in fairness, but there’s surprising few Beckham misses uploaded to YouTube, so I’m going with it. I feel bad slagging off this one against Turkey because he clearly slipped, but that said, the hairstyle deserves a mocking in it’s own right.
Any more of your own selections are more than welcome in the comments section below.