Friday, March 01, 2013

Top 10 heartbreaking penalty misses

It is really heartbreaking to see your team lose on penalties, or when a penalty would have meant the difference between winning or losing. And if it is heartbreaking for the fan, how heartbreaking may it not be for the player?
The recent Africa Cup of Nations semifinal between Ghana and Burkina Faso, where the latter won on penalty kicks, made me think of the most heartbreaking penalty kicks I could think of in my life. Here are my top ten:
  • 10) Chris Waddle, England against West Germany, semifinal of the 1990 World Cup: The only interesting thing in this World Cup was the penalty kicks, and I would have loved to see England against Argentina in what would have been a historic final. 
  • 9) Joaquin, Spain-South Corea, quarterfinal of the World Cup 2002: A historic triumph for Asian football, but a great defeat by the young Joaquin who never seemed really to recover from this.
  • 8) Mauricio Pellegrino, Valencia-Bayern Munich, Champions League final 2001: Valencia will never come so close to a CL title. Pellegrino missed the last kick to give the Germans their title and me a really bad day.
  • 7) Pierre Wome, Cameroon-Egypt 2006 World Cup qualifier. The score was 1-1 in Yaounde in the last match of the group. Cameroon had to win to make it to the World Cup. In the 90th minute Cameroon got a penalty kick. Nobody wanted to kick, so Wome stepped up, and shot wide. Cameroon did not make the World Cup and Wome was frozen out of the Cameroon national team.
  • 6) Maxime Bossis, France-West Germany, semifinal of the 1982 World Cup: France surely had one of the best teams in the world, and after a spectacular semifinal against West Germany, it went into extra time and penalties, where Maxime Bossis missed the last shot for France, and Horst Hrubesch could take the winning kick for the Germans.
  • 5) John Terry, Chelsea-Manchester United, Champions League final, 2008: It was Chelsea's first Champions League final against the rivals of Manchester United, and the intense and dramatic match ended 0-0. In the penalty kicks captain John Terry could take the shot that would give them a victory, but he slipped and missed, and Manchester went on to win as the kicks continued.
  • 4) Zico, Brazil-France, World Cup quarterfinal 1986: One of the best players in history in one of the most memorable teams, in what many consider the best World Cup match ever. Zico missed a penalty at the score 1-1 in the second half, and Brazil went on to lose in penalty kicks.
  • 3) Roberto Baggio, Italy-Brazil 1994 World Cup final: The star of Italy's team in the 1994 World Cup missed the last kick that ended up giving Brazil the World Cup in the first World Cup final that was ever decided on penalty kicks.
  • 2) Miroslav Djukic, Deportivo la Coruna against Valencia, 1994: Little Deportivo La Coruna had been leading the Spanish league most of the season until the last match, where a victory at home against Valencia would give them the title ahead of mighty FC Barcelona. At the score 0-0, La Coruna was awarded a penalty in the last minute of the match. Bebeto refused to take it. Djukic took it, and missed, and the title went to Barcelona.
  • 1) Asamoah Gyan, Ghana-Uruguay in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinal: Ghana was the only third African side to make it to a World Cup quarterfinal. In the last minute of extra time, Uruguay striker Luis Suarez saved the ball with his hand to avoid certain defeat. He was immediately shown a red card and Asamoah Gyan was set to make the shot that would make Ghana the first African side in a World Cup semifinal. But he made a high shot that just touched the crossbar, and in the following penalty kicks Ghana lost.
These are the ones I can think of that have made me annoyed. Of course, there are some I am happy about: Batty's miss against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup; Van Basten's against Denmark in the 1992 Euro semifinal; or Aldo Serena against Argentina in the 1990 semifinal.
There are surely more that I either do not remember or know about, so I would love to hear some of your opinions!

No comments: