This moment of Cruyffian genius happened 35 years ago today 5 years ago

This moment of Cruyffian genius happened 35 years ago today

Simple but effective.

There are a lot of ways to approach taking a penalty.


There's the Rickie Lambert method, which involves smacking the living daylights out of the ball. Then there is the much-maligned stuttered run-up. There is also the Panenka, the chipped penalty that makes you a genius if you pull it off, and a fool if you don't.

But the 'two-man' penalty wasn't really a thing before Johan Cruyff masterminded it. It had happened before. The first 'two-man' spot-kick actually took place in an international friendly between Belgium and Iceland in 1957.

Of course, there is no television footage of it.

But there is for Cruyff and it still holds up as a moment of brilliant pre-determined dead ball wizardry from the late Dutch legend.


Watch it below.

It looks like it's going to be a run-of-the-mill penalty. Only, as soon as Cruyff places the ball on the spot, he knocks it over to Ajax teammate Jesper Olsen who, after drawing the keeper out, returns the favour for Cruyff to nudge into an empty net. They didn't come up with the idea, but they certainly popularised it.


It really takes the misery out of taking a penalty. Goalkeepers aren't expecting it, much like how defenders don't expect free-kick takers to go under the wall.

The move has been copied since, but to wildly varying degrees of success. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez pulled it off last year, but football fans old enough to remember Arsenal's 'Invincibles' will recall Robert Pires and Thierry Henry's comically inept attempt to fool Manchester City in 2005.

Like the Panenka, it only looks good when you succeed.