The agony and ecstasy of penalties, both in normal time and to decide a game, is all part of football, especially at the World Cup. The pressure is immense, the expectation a burden, and it really isn’t easy with so much at stake. Even so lads, there’s no excuse for these…
Chris Waddle, England – 1990
[generic image of Chris Waddle]
Waddle was a gifted player but his penalty against the old enemy (West) Germany at Italia ’90 was certainly a moment to forget. A place in the final beckoned but the Geordie blasted it over the bar and England were out.
Roberto Baggio, Italy – 1994
USA 1994 was a fine tournament, far better than the dour Italia 1990, when Baggio had scored one of the great all-time goals but Italy could only finish third. They made the final four years later, against Brazil, but it was a disappointing end to a magnificent competition, and Baggio’s miss from the spot, blazed over the bar, summed it up; Brazil triumphed and Baggio dropped to his knees.
David Batty, England – 1998
Any list of bad World Cup penalties has to feature plenty of England, and Batty’s lame side-footed effort against Argentina in 1998 was truly awful. He never looked confident, didn’t seem to want to take a penalty and failed miserably. How thoroughly English.
Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, England (again!) – 2006
[image of Irina Shayk]
Sticking with England and all three can share the honours here, although if we were feeling generous we’d let Carra off as he shouldn’t have been taking one anyway. Gerrard and Lampard, dead ball experts, Golden Generation midfield goalscorers… my arse! All three missed against Portugal at the quarter-final stage and Cristiano Ronaldo – who else – converted the winning penalty… with, of course, an incredibly smug look on his face (that might be because he knew he’d be dating Irina Shayk a few years later though).
Asamoah Gyan, Ghana – 2010
Late in extra time Luis Suarez handled on the line to prevent a goal, a goal that would almost certainly have made Ghana the first ever African side to make the World Cup semis, the feat being achieved in Africa making it even more momentous. A penalty was awarded and up stepped Gyan. He missed, Suarez celebrated wildly and Uruguay went on to win the subsequent shootout, Gyan bravely but futilely scoring.
Valdemar de Brito, Brazil – 1934
We’ll forgive you if you’ve never heard of Valdemar de Brito given his penalty miss came way back in 1934. The Brazilian is, however, claimed to have “discovered” Pele but his place in the penalty disaster pantheon is assured as he was the first man ever to miss a penalty at the World Cup finals, his failure coming in a 3-1 loss against Spain.
So there you have the good and great. Of course, there have been many other famous (infamous?) penalty misses so let us know if you disagree with our list. Let’s hope and pray that no more English names are to be added after Brazil 2014!