Love it or hate it, nobody has come up with anything better than a penalty to decide tied games or in-the-box fouls. Penalties have been in vogue since the game was documented and although the Golden Goal and some other rules were implemented, penalties lived on. There have been some penalties impossible to forget. We have a look at the Top 10 penalty kicks.
10. Neymar vs Germany, 2016 Olympic Gold
Neymar Jr. was entrusted with the responsibility of delivering the elusive gold for his country in the 2016 Rio Olympics. He took the Selecao deep into the tournament and the final with Germany was decided based on a shootout.
Neymar scored the decisive penalty to make it 4-2 to Brazil and won Olympic Gold himself for the first time.
9. Johan Cruyff vs Helmond Sport, 1993-94 Eredivisie
Cruyff was always trying new things on the pitch and off it, tactically in his brain. His cheeky penalty in the Eredivisie game against Helmond Sport might have left the goalkeeper frustrate but at 5-0 up, the Dutch champions could give it a shot and pull it off.
A teammate dummied a shot and passed the static ball to Cruyff who slotted it past the keeper into the box.
8. Awana Diab vs Lebanon, 2011 International Friendly
UAE sensation Awana Diab became a popular figure online with his cheeky backheel penalty against Lebanon in a friendly.
The striker was ultimately punished for his antics by the UAE Football Federation for showing disrespect to the opposition, and fined his match fees. However, disrespect or not, it still it one of the cheekiest penalties ever scored.
7. Antonin Panenka vs West Germany, 1976 UEFA Euro Final
The Czechs were facing heavyweights West Germany in the Final of the Euros 1976 in Belgrade. It was a match that swung both ways, once West Germany taking the lead and again Czechoslovakia restoring parity.
The game ended 2-2 in extra time and the penalties was where Antonin Panenka scored the first Penenka kick to give the Czechs their first Euros. The shot, a chip over the keeper has come to be known as the ‘Panenka’ and is used by many shot-takers today.
6. Zinedine Zidane vs Italy, 2006 FIFA World Cup Final
Zizou scored a penalty before he was sent off for headbutting Italian defender Marco Materazzi in what was the most controversial World Cup Final in the modern age.
The France captain stepped up to score past Buffon after the ball ricocheted off the top bar and into the goal, only to come out of it milliseconds later. However, the referee had no hesitation in declaring it a goal.
5. Andrea Pirlo vs England, 2012 UEFA Euro Quarterfinals
The quarterfinal between England and Italy had ended in an abysmal 1-1 and the shootouts were on. The English had scored twice, thanks to Rooney and Lampard and Montolivo had missed already for Italy.
It was in this situation that Pirlo stepped up and scored the best panenka the World has seen so far.
4. Lionel Messi vs Getafe, 2016-17 La Liga
This is the best panenka according to Antonin Panenka himself.
The man hails Leo Messi to have taken the art to another level with this penalty against Getafe in the dying minutes of Barcelona’s La Liga game with Getafe.
3. Neymar vs PSG, 2016-17 UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals
In what is one of the most epic Quarterfinals yet in the history of the Champions League, Neymar scored from the spot against his current club Paris St. Germain to make it 5-1 for Barcelona on a crazy night at Camp Nou.
Having trailed 4-0 from the first leg away, they needed 6 goals to make a comeback after Cavani got an away goal at Camp Nou.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo vs Iran, 2006 FIFA World Cup
CR7 may be a bonafide penalty taker for the teams he plays for, but there was a time when the Portugal team had the likes of Raul in it and CR7 was just finding his feet in the international circuit.
His penalty against Iran in the 2006 World Cup is proof of how calm and composed he has always been when taking shots from the spot.
1. Alexis Sanchez vs Argentina, 2015 Copa America Final
Chile realized their dream of a Copa America with the likes of Sanchez, Vidal and Medel in 2015 when they went on to defeat Messi’s Argentina in the Final. Sanchez scored the decisive kick as the stadium erupted.
The penalty was calmly taken, sending his current Manchester United teammate Sergio Romero the wrong way and slotting in into the goal.