The top 5 penalties inspired by birthday-boy Antonin Panenka 9 years ago

The top 5 penalties inspired by birthday-boy Antonin Panenka

The man who revolutionised penalty taking, Antonin Panenka, turned 66 today, so we're taking a trip down memory lane this evening, looking back at our five favourite efforts inspired by the Czech legend.

But first we'll remind ourselves why Mr Panenka is so special.


In the final of the 1976 European Championships, Panenka stood over the decisive penalty in the shootout, after West Germany's Uli Hoeness had missed, giving him the chance to win it.

Panenka chipped straight down the middle and into the back of the net, and with that, ensured his legacy would live forever.

So in no particular order, our top five tributes to Panenka:


1. Andrea Pirlo v England (Euro 2012)

Andrea Pirlo + Panenka penalty = Cool.

The only thing missing from this beautiful chip from Pirlo is his beard. The Italian showed he had balls of granite during Italy's Euro 2012 quarter final penalty shootout against England, coolly dinking the ball past Joe Hart.



2. Francesco Totti v Holland (Euro 2000)

Considering Italy had been defeated on spot kicks in the World Cups of 1990, 94 and 96, there were bound to be plenty of nerves when they found themselves in a shootout with the Dutch in the semi-finals of Euro 2000.

But luckily for them, the Dutch were in the middle of a hex of their own, exiting their two previous major tournaments after spot kicks.


Francesco Totti has scored, and missed plenty of Panenkas in his time, but this is the pick of his bunch, as he beautifully sends the Italians on the brink of the European Championship final.


3. Zinedine Zidane v Italy (WC 2006)

Another Panenka involving the Italians, but this time they were on the receiving end.


Zinedine Zidane knew he'd have to do something special in the World Cup final of 2006, not to mention it being his last game bedore retirement, but before getting sent off for a head-butt, Zidane produced a moment of brilliance to give France an early lead.

The moment between the ball leaving his foot and dropping over the line felt like an absolute eternity at the time.


4. Helder Postiga v England (Euro 2004)

After scoring just twice in a monumental flop of a season at Spurs, Helder Postiga found some confidence out of nowhere to leave David James blushing.

The sheer thought that it was a penalty shootout against England probably reassured him that Portugal would win regardless.


5. Sebastian Abreu v Ghana

Washington Sebastián Abreu Gallo - or Sebastian Abreu to commentators all around the world - sent Uruguay into the semi-final of the 2010 World Cup with this absolute peach of a Panenka against Ghana, after Luis Suarez's handball in the dying seconds of the game granted them a lifeline.

Although the only thing better about Abreu than this penalty is that he's played for 24 clubs in his career.

There's hope for journeyman everywhere.