BBC BLOGS - Gavin Strachan
« Previous | Main | Next »

Agony and ecstasy of penalty shoot-outs

Gavin Strachan | 21:35 UK time, Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Hi, hope you are all well.

For players and fans alike, penalty shoot-outs are not for the faint-hearted. For me, this was emphasised more forcibly than ever by that extraordinary spot-kick contest in the Scottish League Cup semi-final, which ended in an 11-10 victory for Celtic over Dundee United.

I was obviously delighted for my old man that Celtic won. At the same time, it was impossible not to feel a lot of sympathy for United. This is always the case concerning the losing team in a penalty shoot-out. It is a cruel way for any team to go out of a competition, and because of the general perception of penalty shoot-outs as little more than lotteries, you can understand why so many people in the game would like to see them scrapped.

I would guess that football fans enjoy them much more than players and managers do. There is no doubt that penalty shoot-outs have enhanced the game as spectacles, and my view is that until there is another way to replicate the undoubted excitement that surrounds penalty shoot-outs, we should persevere with them.

For the penalty-takers, the pressure involved is completely different to that of any other aspect of football. Football is fundamentally a team game but when you make that long walk from the half-way line to the penalty spot, you are on your own!

That walk in itself is what separates a penalty shoot-out from a penalty that takes place during the 90 minutes, because it creates the time for the pressure to set in. When you score a "normal" goal, the emotion you experience is elation. When you put the ball in the net in a penalty shoot-out, it is mainly one of relief.

Most players will confirm that the key to taking a successful penalty is to choose where you are going to hit the ball and stick to it. Once you start changing your mind and the element of doubt begins to creep into your mind, the penalty is as good as missed.

The last penalty that I took is a good example of this. It was when I played for Hartlepool at Walsall in the 2006/07 season. Having decided which way to place the kick, I was about to start my run up when Walsall's Chris Westwood - a former team-mate of mine - shouted to the Walsall goalkeeper: "Remember which side I said he puts it". It would be fair to say that my head then went into total meltdown!

That comment caused me to change my mind and yes, you've guessed it ... the keeper saved it and we lost the game 2-0. The irony was that Chris (who is very good friend of mine, although after this, I don't know why!) later told me that he had forgotten which side I preferred to place my penalties and was just hoping to out-psyche me... Well done Chris!

Zinedine Zidane scores for France in the 2006 Fifa World Cup final against Italy

As somebody who has taken quite a few penalties in his career (primarily because I have viewed it as the only way I was ever going to score a goal), I have nothing but respect and admiration for anyone brave enough to take on the job. This especially applies to the top players in the biggest matches. A case in point being Zidane when he "dinked" a penalty in off the bar during the World Cup final. Surely, given the circumstances, there cannot have been a more confident penalty than that in the history of the game.

Penalties have played a big part in my own career and for the most part, in a positive sense. My first career goal for Coventry came by the way of a penalty, away at Preston in the League Cup. Although I was only 19 or 20, I had no compunctions at all about pushing myself forward to take the kick. As soon as the penalty was awarded I picked up the ball and placed it on the spot - how's that for naivety? I remember hearing Carlton Palmer muttering away behind me, saying me that I should not be taking it, but I ignored him and thankfully sent the keeper the wrong way.

The best penalty taker that I have played with has to be Gary McAllister, during my time at Coventry. Unfortunately he will always be remembered for the penalty miss against England in Euro 96 (not his fault I might add, the ball moved on the spot!) but for the vast majority of his career he was a very dependable penalty taker. Who has been the best penalty taker at your club?

My whole attitude to taking penalties is one of "fortune favours the brave". Ultimately, you are taking a risk, because missing a spot kick (which I have on two occasions, the Walsall one and another for Hartlepool against Brighton) leaves you open to criticism and the feeling of having let your team-mates down. But the other side of the coin is that you are displaying the ability to take responsibility and step out of the comfort zone of the team unit. It is great character training!

The first penalty shoot-out I was involved in came two weeks into my spell at Hartlepool, and was against Sheffield Wednesday - where I had previously been on trial during the close-season - in the first round of the Carling Cup. I was the one who happened to score the winning penalty - an achievement which prompted me to celebrate as though I had just earned myself a World Cup winners' medal. Anyone watching must have thought: "This lad is getting a bit too carried away," but after everything I had been through in the summer - when I could not get a club and had to sign on the dole - it was a pretty special moment.

On a par with that was the play-off semi-final penalty shoot-out between Hartlepool and Tranmere in 2004. Having won the first leg 2-0 we got pegged back to 2-2 at Prenton Park and but for our goalkeeper, Dimitrious Konstantopolous, we would have been well beaten. I took the first penalty and scored, and we went on to win. The other reason why I remember it concerned the miss of my Hartlepool colleague, Mark Tinkler.

He tried the "stutter" penalty (the type of penalty made famous by John Aldridge and now Cristiano Ronaldo where the player checks during his run up), which is never a good idea in the lower leagues as far as I am concerned. There is a lot to be said for simplicity and straightforwardness in these situations, as I am sure poor Mark appreciated when he nearly fell over on his approach to the ball and hit a "shot" (I use the term loosely) which gently trickled into the keeper's arms.

It is a good thing that Hartlepool won through in the end. Otherwise, I would have had to resist the temptation to remind Mark of it every opportunity I get!


  • 1. At 9:39pm on 04 Feb 2009, Diala Anthony wrote:

    Hi Gavin,

    Good blog as usual. Did you write it in anticipation of the FA Cup replays?

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 9:50pm on 04 Feb 2009, lionihatethisgame wrote:

    There's going to be one at Goodison tonight!

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 10:05pm on 04 Feb 2009, Diala Anthony wrote:

    lionihatethisgame: I don't think so. How about away goals?

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 10:50pm on 04 Feb 2009, Malicious_Whistle wrote:

    Well, well, well ... No penalties after all. Night, Gavin!

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 10:57pm on 04 Feb 2009, NEARPOSTHEADER wrote:

    I don't really see a better way to decide a tied game. The US League tried a 30-yard one-on-one with the goalkeeper and that never caught on. Penalties are part of a normal game and they are never described as lotteries, so why should a shoot-out be different? Players are expected to score and if they place the ball in the right area of the goal, it's impossible for the keeper to stop it, and let's face it, they kick a ball around virtually everyday, so they should be able to 'pick their spot' with their eyes closed.
    I love penalty shoot-outs and I imagine everyone else does except the takers. If they miss, tough - that's what they get paid for.

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 10:57pm on 04 Feb 2009, Mwinley1 wrote:

    Hi Gavin, great blog as always, really enjoy hearing your views on lower-league football.

    Has there been any cases in your experience where a player has missed an easy goal/penalty and then been sold because of it?

    My question comes from a news story last which I can't remember (sorry) about a player missing a goal and being sold, and also the speculation over Darren Bent's future after he missed an easy header in a recent game.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 11:00pm on 04 Feb 2009, Richie908 wrote:

    Dennis Irwin was an incredible peno taker. Hasselbaink was probably the best for Chelsea that I can remember (I'm 18).

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 11:02pm on 04 Feb 2009, Hiro_Spiceadder wrote:

    Hey Gavin, another good blog - although that really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone by now.

    I noticed that right-backs (ex: Graham Alexander) tend to be excellent spot-kick takers. Do you agree with this observation?

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 11:10pm on 04 Feb 2009, Maddog wrote:

    ask ya dad what colour is underwear were at the end of that semi? I love pens such a buzz i am keeper thou, will never take one!

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 11:14pm on 04 Feb 2009, busysteveyl wrote:

    Great Blog Gav! It is true, there is simply not a worse feeling than missing a penalty, especially in a shoot-out! I mean if it makes a grown man cry...Pearce, Terry..

    Best pen taker i can remember has to be good old Shearer (Euro's, W cup's especially)! possibly ooh ahh Cantona! what a legend (FA cup, 1994?)

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 11:26pm on 04 Feb 2009, Andres Mora wrote:

    For me, the best chance you've got to assure you're going to score a penalty is, as Zidane certainly did, having a confident attitude while taking it. If you've practised enough it's a matter of 'Let's do it just the same and wait to see what happens!'

    In a light note, did you know that you appear in FIFA 09 with an overall rating of 56/100? Do you think it's fair?

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 11:28pm on 04 Feb 2009, Saccas wrote:

    Frank Lampard is a great penalty taker (for chelsea...for england its another matter...)

    great blog gavin, keep it coming. Looking good for the journalism when you finish footy, ever thought of management like your dad though?

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 11:28pm on 04 Feb 2009, Marcus Ebert wrote:

    great blog again gav.. i especialy like it how you ask readers questions about their experiences.. really makes us feel involved and gives us a chance to tell others of our exploits and experiences on the pitch.. really nothing beats it

    well best pen taker iv played with..
    would have to be my dad.. haha really.. he used to NEVER miss. he is a strong advocate of the shoot ze ball under ze grass and he places it bottom corner

    looking forward to the next blog!!

    oh and how good is it that liverpool lost!!!!!!!!!???

    thank you everton.. from a grateful chelsea fan

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 11:34pm on 04 Feb 2009, Lanky-ffc wrote:

    England fans wont like to be reminded of this but the best penalty i remember is Helder Postiga against them in Euro 2004. He had just had a poor season for Tottenham yet steps up cool as you like and dinks the ball down the middle.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 11:34pm on 04 Feb 2009, Saccas wrote:

    By the way, shocker bu ITV tonight with the adverts, missed the goal!!! They should never ever have footy again. something should be done! Come on the BBC get us the FA Cup back where it belongs !!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 11:38pm on 04 Feb 2009, Lanky-ffc wrote:

    Forgot to mention . . . that was also the final penalty, if he had missed England would have gone through!

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 11:38pm on 04 Feb 2009, -james-4p- wrote:

    Matt le tissier - scored 48 out of his 49 penalties for southampton!

    Great blog as always! Consistently more interesting than the premiership one's written by outsiders. Lovely to have a view from inside the current game

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 11:57pm on 04 Feb 2009, thevillan88 wrote:

    For the big occasion Zidane wins hands down!

    On a more domestic level - Le Tissier has to be the greatest penalty taker to grace the Prem!

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 11:58pm on 04 Feb 2009, rushies-right-boot wrote:

    Best penalty takers at Liverpool: Phil Neal, Jan Molby, John Aldridge (with an obvious exception), Steven Gerrard from the current crop.

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 11:59pm on 04 Feb 2009, Chizzle wrote:

    I've been a fan of Bury for around 20 years now, and in that time I can remember a few decent penalty takers, although we never really seemed to win many penalties! First up is Mark "Spike" Carter, he was one of the calmest strikers of the ball from a penalty spot I've ever seen. More recently, we've got hold of Andy Bishop, one of the best strikers in the lower leagues at this moment, and he can take a mean penalty as well.

    Gavin, what was your view on Darren Huckerby when you were at Coventry? I see him as one of the biggest "nearly" player in recent history, having played for several big clubs and having pace and energy to burn, yet only really performing at Championship level. Was there any particular reason he didn't go as far as perhaps he could have done, or was that just the level he felt best at? Have there been any other players who you feel haven't lived up to potential during their careers? How do you feel your career has gone in contrast? Are you happy with the way things have panned out, allowing you to play football for the only reason anyone should play football (because of their love of the game)? Please don't take that as a dig, because believe me, we'd love to have had a player like yourself at Bury during the times when we weren't looking as solid as we could have, especially in midfield.

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 00:01am on 05 Feb 2009, ilikelimes wrote:

    Gary Mac was indeed the best penalty taker ever for the Sky Blues, but I actually remember seeing a certain Gavin Strachan score from the spot once.

    It was a reserve game against Crystal Palace, at the Palace Athletics ground on a cold winters night some time in the late 1990s. I think we won 2-0, but the real joy was in the rarity of a Gavin Strachan goal! And only a tiny handful of die-hards actually got to see it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 00:03am on 05 Feb 2009, supershunsuke wrote:

    Dwight Yorke was pretty good - would always go with the chipped one down the middle which would make the keeper look like a wally. Although always a risk that the keeper doesn't move and the penalty taker ends up looking like the wally. Takes a lot of balls!

    Matt le Tissier definitely one of the best penalty takers in my lifetime. Never saw him miss one. Also Julian Dicks for West Ham - would always blast it in the top corner everytime.

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 00:28am on 05 Feb 2009, mankyblue wrote:

    one of the best English penalty taker i've seen is Alan Shearer though i think Matt Le Tissier's record may be better...Zidane was on a different planet though ..
    most amazing game of football including a penalty shoot out was the play off betwwen Man City and Gillingham to get out of league two ... heart stopping maddness

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 01:18am on 05 Feb 2009, Teiam - problem solved wrote:

    What is the feeling that you get when you miss? I take penalties for my Sunday league team, i've never missed 'cuz i'm always confident enough to go top corner every time, I can't imagine missing and letting my team down, I think if I did, i'd have to stop taking them for good.

    Also, playing professionally who decides on taking the penalties? The manager or the players?

    Excellent blog mind.

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 01:20am on 05 Feb 2009, kedbrother wrote:

    Good subject for a blog Gavin.
    I agree with nearpostheader - if a top pro footballer can't hit the target from the spot he should think about another career.

    Willie Johnson for the Baggies just blasted the ball as hard as he possibly could - I don't know what his success rate was but you wouldn't want to be in the way of them!

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 06:15am on 05 Feb 2009, mumbai_gooner wrote:

    hi gavin,
    must say, you are too good, there's a valuable insight into a footballers life in each of your blogs.
    I have never watched you play, but given a chance i would definitely want to, as for the articles, keep them comin!

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 06:57am on 05 Feb 2009, BMG wrote:

    For those of you who remember this far back, Francis Lee was one of the best. He used to just belt them as hard as he could, and according to one of his team mates the keeper used to try and get out of the way!

    He also had a great scrap with Norman Hunter, which sadly for him ending up with a sending off and a bust lip. Legendary!

    One other I remember is when Chris Waddle took one shortly after the 90 world cup. I think it was for Sheff Weds against Wolves. You could see it written all over his face that he would miss, and he didn't disappoint! Shame really cos he was a brilliant player

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 07:04am on 05 Feb 2009, anzac121 wrote:

    Zidanes was a cracking penalty. But have a look at Panenkas for Czechoslovakia in the 1976 European Championshiop shoot out against West Germany. Very similar.

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 07:04am on 05 Feb 2009, Gavin Strachan wrote:

    post 6 . I cant help but think my miss at Walsall led to me leaving Hartlepool . I hardly played for the club again.

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 07:05am on 05 Feb 2009, Gavin Strachan wrote:

    post 11 . No I do not think it`s fair ..... it should have ben much lower!.

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 07:06am on 05 Feb 2009, Gavin Strachan wrote:

    I meant "been" , sorry.

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 07:10am on 05 Feb 2009, Gavin Strachan wrote:

    post 20 . There was spell at Coventry City , when Darren Huckerby was simply unplayable . He was giving the likes of Stam and Tony Adams a torrid time . As for my own career , I take quite a philosophical take on it . I am just happy I have been able to stay in the game so long and enjoy it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 07:12am on 05 Feb 2009, Gavin Strachan wrote:

    post 24 . The feeling when you miss is up there with the worst feelings in football . One of the hardest things is to try and not let it affect your performance for the rest of the game if it is a penalty during normal time.

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 07:36am on 05 Feb 2009, Pieman OSC wrote:

    Good blog. Haven't read all the posts yet.

    Does anyone know if Danny Murphy has ever missed one? My mate and I don't remember him doing so.

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 08:02am on 05 Feb 2009, Zongamin wrote:

    Interesting stuff as always.

    You may be able to shed some light on the Hartlepool v Tranmere peno shoot out.

    I was there (i'm a Tranmere fan) and am sure Chris Westwood 'had a few words' as you describe to Ian Sharps before he missed the vital kick.

    Can you remember this and does Westwood claim any role in the ultimate victory because of it?

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 09:07am on 05 Feb 2009, SugarDunkerton wrote:

    For me the best Penalty taker was Ronald Koeman.... He used to belt it high into the net everytime and cant remember him missing...

    I dont know why this doesnt catch on... When do you ever see a keeper diving high??

    For me keepers taking penalties is a good idea.. they are probably the cleanest strikers of the ball on the park.

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 09:14am on 05 Feb 2009, Al wrote:

    As an alternative to penalty shoot outs why not take kicks from any point along the otherwise unused arc at the top of the 18 yard box. That way there would be less onus on the player that misses and more on the player that manages to score. Otherwise I can't think of a (valid) reason for the D to exist at the top of the 18 yard box.

    Having said that the Celtic v Utd shoot out was the best I have seen for years!

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 09:24am on 05 Feb 2009, dotdashdotdash wrote:

    did n't the WHUFC full back ray stewart never miss a penalty? as i recall his technique was head down and blast it

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 09:28am on 05 Feb 2009, John Knee wrote:

    Personally, I think Penalty Shootouts should be replaced with the two managers having a "first to 10 goals" game of table football in the middle of the pitch.... First to ten wins...

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 09:32am on 05 Feb 2009, Michael Roche wrote:

    Frank Lebouef was the best penalty take I've ever seen, only ever missed one penalty for Chelsea I believe, scored some crucial ones for us aswell.

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 09:33am on 05 Feb 2009, GS3inarow wrote:

    Hi Gavin, greetings fae Aberdeen, hope you and the family are well wrapped up.

    I only once took a penalty in a shoot out and lost.

    I was the captain of the side so when I won the toss I calmly took the ball from the ref and strode up to the penalty spot to take the first penalty with all the confidence in the world until I heard the words from a fellow team mate (my best man at my wedding no less) "NEVER SEEN HIM TAKE A PEN BEFORE".
    Not sure if they ever recovered that ball!as I blasted it so high it was still rising the last time I saw it.

    No. 37 The Celtic v Utd shootout for me only became the best in years after the Celts had won, before that I was looking to change my underwear.

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 09:34am on 05 Feb 2009, John Knee wrote:

    Post 36:

    The problem with blasting the ball is that you have less control over the penalty and are more likely to balloon it over the bar etc. Stuart Pearce is a good example of this. Blasting the ball is less about accuracy but hitting it so quick that the keeper doesn't have time to move.

    In the modern game where passing ability is the new black, it is considered easier to 'pass' the ball into the corner. For a keeper, it is difficult to get down in time for a shot into the bottom corner unless they correctly predict which side.

    In relation to Koeman, he was one of those players who were naturally capable of hitting the ball with a lot of power without needing to exert himself - thus he could blast it with a certain level of accuracy.

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 09:36am on 05 Feb 2009, Danny Reilly wrote:

    Was a defender used to play for Derry City, a Scot called Stuart Gauld, who if I remember right scored 26 or 27 consecutive penalties over three seasons. He even featured on Saint and Greavsie. The one he chose to miss, but, was against a bucket team in a match that would have given Derry the League. Instead, they drew the game and finished second. Fair play to Gauld though, two weeks later he banged in a peno in the cup final for Derry - and won the game for them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 09:37am on 05 Feb 2009, Lucan4Scanlon wrote:

    A little bit closer to home for you, I remember another great penalty taker - your old man. He scored a few absolutely vital penalties for Aberdeen when we were becoming great in the early eighties, ironically enough a couple of them coming against Celtic. One particular post-penalty celebration prompted a thug-like reaction from a Celtic fan who ran on to the pitch and tried to attack your old man. However he was well protected by his team mates and it came to nothing. A little aside here - I firmly believe that your old man gets so much stick from the Celtic fans (completely unjustifiably after what he's done for them) because he was THE spanner in Celtic's works on several occasions in the early eighties when Celtic were Aberdeen's biggest rivals, and they've never really come to terms with it.

    Whenever it really mattered and the pressure was on, your old man would step up and do the business from the spot. However, when it didn't really matter too much (against Ipswich for example) he was prone to placing the ball to the goalie's side at the perfect height for an easy save.

    Maybe you could have a word with your old man to give up on Celtic and come back home to the Aberdeen (as manager of course :-)). We could certainly be doing with his character to lift our under-achieving team :-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 09:38am on 05 Feb 2009, benaldob9 wrote:

    Post 37 - the purpose of the D outside the penalty box is keep players 10 yards from the ball when a penalty is taken (in normal play, not a shoot out).

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 09:48am on 05 Feb 2009, Al wrote:

    Post 45, yeah I know but otherwise it's fairly moribund

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 09:48am on 05 Feb 2009, Stuart M wrote:

    I think the "D" is to make sure that other players are at least 10 yards from the penalty spot when a player is taking a pen (in normal time of course).

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 09:51am on 05 Feb 2009, LondonMadHead wrote:

    as an arsenal fan i always remember the compusour and cool-head dennis bergkamp showed whenever he took a penalty.

    thierry henry would not take a penalty he won.

    do you have any superstitions regarding football? doing your left boot up first or something like that?!

    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 09:54am on 05 Feb 2009, Ferdinaldooney wrote:

    I think the best way to take a penalty is to put it down the middle. Goalkeepers usually jump to one side and putting it down the middle has proved effective in big games such as the UCL Final (Anderson) and the WC Final (Zidane). Best penalty taker??? Not Ronaldo!!!!!! I liked Hargreaves penalty in the final but surely its gotta be Cantona or Irwin and as some has pointed out Lampard.

    P.S. Gotta give Ruud a mention!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 09:55am on 05 Feb 2009, anotherlordpompey wrote:

    How about having the penalties before the extra time? The winner of the penalties gets half a goal going into the extra 30 minutes. It cannot be a draw and it is decided by playing football. A lot fairer but obviously not as exciting.

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 09:55am on 05 Feb 2009, benaldob9 wrote:

    How can it be moribund? it is the opposite, it is thriving, you see two on every pitch in the world.

    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 09:56am on 05 Feb 2009, IPL Prediction Champ 08/09 wrote:

    the best penalty i have seen was beckhams ha ha. when he blasted it over the bar and then had the audacity to stare at the peno spot for about a minute.
    every year there is a tournament in our local park with up to 20 teams.
    in the first knock out round we went to penalties and it went right down to the keepers, i scored then saved from the other keeper to go through.
    we ended up winning the tournament.

    btw. just wanna say, i look forward to your blog every week Gav, good luck for the rest of the season.

    up the celts

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 09:58am on 05 Feb 2009, Ferdinaldooney wrote:

    Post 37
    Best shootout has to be Ivory Coast vs Cameroon in the ACN 2006 or England U21 vs Holland U21 Summer 2007!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 09:59am on 05 Feb 2009, benaldob9 wrote:

    post 48, i'm a gooner too, but for somebody with talent like bergkamp i dreaded him taking penalties - United wouldn't have won the treble in '99 if he had scored that penalty in injury time of the semi final. He also had a terrible record at free kicks, but is still the best player I have seen in the flesh..

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 10:00am on 05 Feb 2009, Ferdinaldooney wrote:

    Btw Gavin, I updated your ranking on Fifa 09 and gave you a 68 (PACE:87 and STAMINA 89). I also bought you with Manchester United and you scored the final penalty in the UCL Final against CELTIC!!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 10:01am on 05 Feb 2009, nicknepal wrote:

    As an alternative to penalties how about taking of an extra player every 5 mins during an additional period of extra time? Not sure when the goalie should come off though!

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 10:03am on 05 Feb 2009, Ferdinaldooney wrote:

    Also, why can't a player pass the ball in normal time taking a penalty like Pires and Henry did against Man City all those years back??? It would be like the ball hitting the post and coming back to a player on the same team, only this time without hitting the post!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 10:05am on 05 Feb 2009, Ferdinaldooney wrote:

    Celtic have just offered me 3m to take you to Scotland. Should I accept??? I've asked for more money

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 10:08am on 05 Feb 2009, Pyroadi wrote:

    As a replacement for penalty kicks I've always liked the idea that each team loses a player every 5 minutes of extra time.

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 10:12am on 05 Feb 2009, Westdrop wrote:

    At my club (Everton) the best penalty taker I've seen in recent times was David Unsworth. I remember he almost always just passed it in to the keeper's right. Then one time against Sheff Wed he decided to blast it and smacked it against the bar!

    Top man though.

    In terms of the whole of the Premiership Le Tissier has to be considered to be the best: as someone pointed out earlier he scored 48 out of 49 and the one he didn't score was saved (Mark Crossley), so he never missed the target once.

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 10:22am on 05 Feb 2009, kevthered83 wrote:

    Gav, do you, or have you ever, practised Penalties in training? is this a common trend to do so, if not why not.

    I remember an England manager saying they wouldnt practice pens (might have been Hoddle I think) and as we all know England's record is dire. Does it make sense to practice, or does it all just come down to nerve?

    I assume teams must practice as its wierd as some teams such as Liverpool and Germany are alwasy great at penalties, whereas the likes of Chelsea, England, Holland & Spain have always been poor at pens.

    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 10:31am on 05 Feb 2009, donprestoni wrote:

    Good blog Gavin, though that Coventry - Preston game is not one I needed reminding of.

    Best penalty taker I have seen at our club was Graeme Alexander who is sadly now with a local rival due to the short-sightedness of certain former management staff. He actually played against you that day.

    Preston fans have always rated him, just wondering do you remember playing against him and what is he like to play against as a player?

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 10:34am on 05 Feb 2009, King-Dion wrote:

    Hi Gavin, you really have grown into this job. Your blogs, although always interesting, are getting better and better along with your style of writing. I am now convinced that journalism is your next career because you are the most consistant blogger on these pages.

    Many people, myself included, do not believe that coaches make players practice taking penalties anywhere near enough. The England team have demonstrated this failing for many seasons whereas the Germans seem very consistant penalty takers.

    Do you know which clubs make practising a priority? In Stuart Pearce's autobiography he was never told to practice them at Forest. Quite!

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 10:36am on 05 Feb 2009, jobama2 wrote:

    I remember Tommy Gemmel (of Lisbon Lion fame) once commenting on taking penalties that if he didn't know where the ball was going before he took them, then neither did the keeper. I don't think he missed too many. If anyone can come up with the stats it would be interesting to know his success rate.

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 10:55am on 05 Feb 2009, BognorRock wrote:

    Going back to Zidane, does anyone remember the penalty he took against England at Euro 2004 when he THREW UP just before making his run up and coolly slotting it past David James. Sad though that was being an Enlgand fan it shows just what a cool character and world-class player he was.

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 10:56am on 05 Feb 2009, lynnfc wrote:

    geat blog as always gavin, i respect the way you always think of a new topic rather than go on about rafa benitez's mistakes like the other bloggers on here!

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 10:56am on 05 Feb 2009, Antbreizh wrote:

    Zidane has to be the best. He only missed one penalty in his whole career. It was in a friendly against China, he slipped and sent the ball over the bar.

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 10:58am on 05 Feb 2009, Fuzzy wrote:

    Le Tissier - missed once in his career.
    Cantona - Sent the keeper the wrong way nearly every time.
    Signori - 1 step
    Denny Landzat - missed once in his career I think.
    Panenka - Pioneer of the chip penalty. Scored in the 1976 Euro final with a chipped penalty.

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 11:23am on 05 Feb 2009, benaldob9 wrote:

    I remember a couple of years ago, Watford had qualified for the Championship play offs and at the last home league game of the season (towards the end of the season anyway) they asked the crowd to stay behind after the game so the players could practice penalties in a "filled stadium" scenario in case the need arose in the play offs.
    Half the crowd were asked to be hostile when Watford players were taking a kick, ie act like the crowd at an away game and the other half to support the Watford players.
    I think it was Aid Boothroyd in charge at the time and I thought it was a simple but brilliant idea when I heard about it.

    Did Watford participate in a penalty shoot out during that play off promotion campaign? Can any Watford fans present for that game remember what the atmosphere was like?

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 11:24am on 05 Feb 2009, Drewba wrote:

    one of the best current penalty takers has got to be nathan ellington, he seems to wait for the keeper to commit and then rolls it into the other corner.

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 11:29am on 05 Feb 2009, Yossarian wrote:

    The only acceptable replacement for penalties as far as I can see is to play 'headers and volleys'.

    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 11:33am on 05 Feb 2009, shnu09 wrote:

    great blog, Gav, long time reader, first time replier, I used to be my school team's designated penalty kick taker. And never missed a penalty for 4 years. Then i missed 2 in one penalty shootout that we ended up winning anyway,( It's great having a brilliant and goliath like keeper), so i totally understand your point about it all being about "the walk" from the half way line to the spot. Where's your favourite spot to put your spot-kicks? Mine was top left( goallie's right). Risky but effective!

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 11:40am on 05 Feb 2009, Fuzzy wrote:

    I have a 100% penalty taking record. Taken 1, scored 1. Does that mean i'm better than Le Tissier?

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 11:46am on 05 Feb 2009, BouncyBouncy wrote:

    What about young John Fleck for Rangers? Playing in a crucial game against Dundee united in Ibrox, the scores 0-0 and he wins a penelty. Decides to step up himself and slots it home.

    Not bad for a 17 year old!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 11:53am on 05 Feb 2009, im_antony_kay wrote:

    Another quality blog.

    Best penalty taker at my club? Gotta be Aldo and his shuffle!

    Also, i was at both legs of the Tranmere Hartlepool semi. Heartbreaking!

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 11:59am on 05 Feb 2009, RampleyforMilan wrote:

    By far the greatest penalty taker is Tommy Miller for Ipswich, never missed a penalty and never will.

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 12:09pm on 05 Feb 2009, juninhowept wrote:

    the best penalty taker (nt from my club, but the best for sure) was julian 'no run-up' dicks. can't see the nickname catching on, but he was class.

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 12:10pm on 05 Feb 2009, bluethirdkit wrote:

    Good article as ever Gavin, and they are getting even better.

    As I supporter of one of the big teams - MUFC - I will make a suggestion which will only serve to count against such sides.

    I genuinely would like to see the following:

    -30 mins of normal extra time.

    -then, session after session of 'golden-goal' extra time. 15 mins at a time.

    If it takes you 4 hours to win the game - probably due to a tired mistake by the opposition - well that is your fault. You will be suffering as individuals and as a team when you play your next game.

    But importantly this means the game will always be settled within the rules of the game - not by the totally false psychological test of the penalty shoot-out.

    TV and police might complain, but they accept it for tennis matches. Often late at night in Melbourne or New York.

    The PFA may not like it.

    The big clubs will hate it - it is much more likely to be a big club in this situation - maybe at 1am against Porto in the ECL on a Wednesday night.

    But as a fan, we would be fascinated in the spectacle and we would get a fair result.

    Complain about this comment

  • 79. At 12:11pm on 05 Feb 2009, Kalash_McKop wrote:

    My view on penalties is the same as Churchill's was on democracy (that's Sir Winston - not the dog from those commercials), so to paraphrase: 'Penalty kicks is the worst way to decide a football match except for all those other ways that have been tried from time to time.'

    The penalty takers have been pretty well covered here - but what about keepers? Who has been the best penalty saver I wonder?

    Despite his rep, I doubt it is Pepe Reina, although he's probably quite well up there.

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 12:15pm on 05 Feb 2009, Boshorange wrote:

    Another cracking read Gavin, one of (if not the) best and most interesting blogs on the site. I think you've definatly found your next career move after the playing days are over!
    Penalty shootouts are the only 'fair' way to decide games. They give the boring, goalless draws a reason to be exciting, the atmosphere they can generate is simply awesome. Fear and tension, like Gavin said, can only be replaced with relief and more often than not you can just see the pressure lift off a players shoulders when they score. Players like Zidane are a different class, the total footballer both pysically and mentally. As for all-time greats, look no further than Shearer and Sheringham, though i also recall Julian Dicks being able to hit one pretty hard. For novelty value, the legend that was goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert of Paraguay. Once scored a hatrick!

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 12:15pm on 05 Feb 2009, A wet windy night in Stoke wrote:

    Zidane was France's first choice penalty taker for a decade or so. Never saw him miss one..

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 12:17pm on 05 Feb 2009, Boshorange wrote:

    Its totally different for goalkeepers. They can only be the hero. No-one will tarnish a keepers reputation for not saving a penalty, because the player is EXPECTED to score. For keepers who are great at saving them, Ricardo of Portugal is pretty good, Reina is a good shout. Then there is the obvious ones such as Buffon.

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 12:25pm on 05 Feb 2009, Wud82 wrote:

    #5 - so they get paid to miss do they??!?

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 12:29pm on 05 Feb 2009, bluethirdkit wrote:

    come on guys penalties were further degraded in the Champions League final when Chelsea subbed on Belletti and Utd, Nani with 30 seconds to go. Just because they are great at pens.

    That is so close to American Football 'special teams'

    Why don't they do keepy-uppies instead, just about as relevant to the game.

    Best pen taker from a while back was Jesper Olsen - don't know the statistics, but the style was classy.

    Keepers from same era was Paul Cooper from Ipswich - almost unbeatable.

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 12:30pm on 05 Feb 2009, kevthered83 wrote:

    OMG boshorange....did you just label Sherringham in with the greatest penalty takers!?!?!?!? Sherringham had 1 of the worst penalties ive seen, he would always miss!!!! (I had to read your post 3 times to check you had put that).

    As for keepers, current form on penalties cant be better than Van Der Sar. he's been saving em for fun.

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 12:31pm on 05 Feb 2009, lostlest wrote:

    Good read Gavin.
    From a goalkeepers point of view, we are in a no-lose situation.
    If your opponents score, its expected, if you save it, you're a hero.
    My record was about 50/50 when I played (local league only)
    I always stood just to left of centre, hoping the kicker would go to my right (which they very often did as the space looked a lot bigger) as I was much better at diving that way.
    Terrible at taking them though, took 2 missed 2.

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 12:38pm on 05 Feb 2009, shefwanderer wrote:

    Zindane's penalty was awful. You're telling me he 'decided' to aim for the underside of the bar. Rot. He jammed it. Beckham's against argentina in 2002 was another rubbish pen. Low down the centre is always a risk if the keeper doesn't dive one way or the other. Fair play he hit it well but it was about a foot from the keeper. Just because they go in doesn't mean its a quality penalty, just means they were lucky!

    Dean Holdsworth was a dependable penalty taker for bolton. Always hit it to the bottom left corner but so well the keepers never got near it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 12:38pm on 05 Feb 2009, Wakey_Boro_Fan wrote:

    I can only remember GORDON STRACHAN missing one penalty for Leeds.

    A 0-0 game at ER with Southampton I think

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 12:46pm on 05 Feb 2009, Stewie Griffin wrote:

    Hi Gavin, love your blogs.

    Thought an interesting fact for everyone might be that while penalties are indeed expected to be scored, it is suprising that between 25-33% of them are missed in official matches (im a sports science student at the university of Chichester, and found my research in the Journal of Sport Science!)

    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 12:48pm on 05 Feb 2009, middo2905 wrote:

    Great Blog Gavin, from a Notts fan exiled in Southampton!

    I think there should be a Shoot Out League involving the 5 substitutes before every game. It would entertain the fans, give the reserve goalie some 'match practice' and hopefully make the English Players better at penalties therefore decreasing the chance of us getting knocked out in the quarter finals by Portugal again!

    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 1:14pm on 05 Feb 2009, TVG wrote:

    As a previous poster alluded to West Ham's Ray Stewart was quite a taker, scoring 76 of 86 he took in his career, most of them blasted down the centre I recall.

    An amazing penalty saver though was Ipswich's keeper in the 80's, Paul Cooper, who I believe one season saved 8 of 10 penalties he faced.

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 1:20pm on 05 Feb 2009, eltel49 wrote:

    Going back years Sunderland had a winger Harry Hooper dont think he ever missed a penalty but in recent times only really Cantona and Le Tissier stand out as being super confident which is what taking penalties is all about .

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 1:39pm on 05 Feb 2009, cambridgesaint wrote:

    As a Southampton fan, we have had the best in Matt Le Tissier. Mark Crossley was the only 'keeper to save one of his spot kicks. After Le God came James Beattie, who seems to have banged them in wherever he goes, not sure if he's missed one for his various clubs?

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 1:47pm on 05 Feb 2009, nsm2008 wrote:

    Hi Gavin,

    being a Wednesday fan, I can still remember your penalty, and your run after!

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 1:54pm on 05 Feb 2009, stretfordendred wrote:

    Anyone remember Ricardo the spanish sub keeper at Man Utd a few seasons back, he used to give away penalties for fun.. then get back up and save them!

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 1:57pm on 05 Feb 2009, SteamingIron wrote:

    Great Blog - enjoyed it as always.

    Instead of penalties how about the team who have won the most corners or who have had more shots (on or off target) wins ?
    This (hopefully) would encourage attacking football especially towards the end of a drawn game when some teams are happy to play out time for penalties.

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 2:02pm on 05 Feb 2009, jimdot wrote:

    Johan Cruyff's peno that he passed to jesper olsen and then received the return pass and scored was class. Pity Pires and Henry messed up when trying the same thing for the gunners.
    Le Tiss was the best penalty taker I have seen. And anyone from Deutschland.

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 2:07pm on 05 Feb 2009, virtualbirdie wrote:

    Hi Gavin

    Great read, I wish England could take pens
    so many major tournements we have gone out,

    But the best Pen taker i have seen has got to be King Eric Cantona who i think only missed once i could be wrong,

    ooohh argh cantona............

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 2:16pm on 05 Feb 2009, Pablo wrote:

    Nice blog.

    I would consider Zidane's penalty in WC2006 final as the best, closely followed by Brehme's penalty in the WC1990 final.

    As a Uruguayan, I'm not a big fan of penalties, perhaps because we always lose (taking into account all official club, NT and youth NT matches, Uruguayan teams have only won one shootout since 2000).

    However I don't know a fairer and better way than deciding a game. More extra time seems inadequate because players would be exhausted. Declare the winning team to the one with most shots on target or corners like it was suggested some years ago seems unfair as well. Perhaps a solution to declare as winner to the team who had a goal wrongly disallowed, or sth similar could work but I doubt it.

    If my team were facing a shootout, I would love to have Paraguayan legend Chilavert in my team. I think his teams never lost that way. One goal and one save almost guaranteed!

    Regarding practising penalties, I remember before Euro 2000 semifinal, the Dutch were the only team who had not practised PK. Do you remember what happened?

    Complain about this comment

  • 100. At 2:36pm on 05 Feb 2009, atyaagun wrote:

    Excellent article!

    Exhaustion is a very important factor that adds to the difficulty of shooting right. After 120 minutes of intense football, the players have very tired legs to take the perfect shot. The mind set is obviously at a low. Lampard and Gerrard misses against Portugal might have their explanation in exhaustion. Even thought Trezeguet miss against Italy it definitely not due to tiredness!

    The football commentators are not good at providing penalty shoot out stats. The baseball game is the best in providing the players stats. Before any player's hit, the commentators provide all the stats about the pitcher and the batter.
    Jens Lehmann paper that he used during the penalty shoot outs against Argentina shows the importance of such stats in the game.

    Furthermore, the commentators don't refresh the spectators with the choices made by the players who have already taken their penalties.
    The players side choice is somehow affected by the choices made by the other players.
    It is the same thing for the goal keepers who, when choosing their side, they might take into consideration the choices made by the players and the opponent goal keeper.

    Socrates miss against Joel Bats is a famous one!

    All the best

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 2:56pm on 05 Feb 2009, greysweetalkinguy wrote:

    Another superb piece, Gavin. I tend to agree about Gary McAllister, he was an excellent player who did lots to help Liverpool in the three-cup season a few years ago.

    A penalty shoot-out is good entertainment for the fans, apart from when you are on the losing end. Part of it is, as you skated over a litle bit, is the mental demands on the players involved. They have to change from playing and concentrating on the game with the team to being alone with their own thoughts by and large, at least until they have taken their own kick. After playing for 90+30 minutes, some players are tireder than others, and mental fatigue will creep in. The ones who cope better at that will be the ones who are successful at the shoot-out. As you say, knowing what you are going to do and concentrating until you have done it must be the key.

    Possibly having a "golden" goal is fairer, but for how long do you need to play on until one is scored, and is that a little unfair for the other team denying them the chance to strike back, as teams so often do during "extra time"?

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 3:34pm on 05 Feb 2009, AJ_1888 wrote:

    Best penalty taker at Celtic? Has to be Artur Boruc! Perfect swerve into the top corner! He should take them all from now on!

    Complain about this comment

  • 103. At 4:39pm on 05 Feb 2009, Myleftslipper wrote:

    In Wenger's time at Arsenal, Lauren has been the best penalty taker.

    He used to wait for the keeper to commit before cooly slotting home. Mendieta used the same technique.

    Complain about this comment

  • 104. At 4:40pm on 05 Feb 2009, oke2008 [RIP #15] wrote:

    best keeper at saving penatlies was the USSR goalie Lev Yashin. Peter Schmeichel also had a fairly decent record at saving them. best pen taker i had seen Shaun Smith of Crewe, always blasted them into the top corner, think he only missed one in his career

    Complain about this comment

  • 105. At 4:57pm on 05 Feb 2009, gowalcott wrote:

    alan shearer anyone?

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 5:08pm on 05 Feb 2009, Loujamhammer wrote:

    Great Blog as usual Gavin.

    I don't think you can beat penalties as a decider for a cup tie. I used to take the penalties for my saturday amateur side. I'd never missed one in 30 or so attempts during 90 mins. As soon as I had to take one in a penalty shootout situation the old nerves got the better of me and I missed it! Skied it over the bar when I was actually going for my normal spot of low to the keepers right hand. Lost my nerve after that and have never taken another one since. I think a lot of it is to do with confidence during 90 minutes, but the pressure kicks in during a shootout.
    As a penalty taker you won't find much better than 2 of my West ham favs of Ray Stewart (mentioned already) and Julian Dicks. Both went for power and placement and I can't recall either of them missing often if at all.

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 5:55pm on 05 Feb 2009, DJHDJH wrote:

    David Seaman was an exceptional penalty saver - Reina is the best of the current bunch.

    What I find interesting is players who don't have a great record but never miss when it matters - always remember at Barnet our former captain (now manager) Ian Hendon had a fairly chequered record but with the pressure on when we had 3 in a week in the midst of a relegation fight they all flew into the net.

    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 8:23pm on 05 Feb 2009, A wet windy night in Stoke wrote:

    Penalties are not for everybody. Zidane was a very rare case. His technique and ball control was incredible. He sent the ball wherever he wished with incredible precision. Most Zidane penalties went to the right of the keeper at shoulder height, one foot away from the goal post. Impossible for any keeper to to catch. They knew it was coming but could not get there. Same for Ronaldinho. Buffon is the best keeper in the world and knew Zinane well. For the '06 WC penalty, Zidane took a risk and changed style because he knew that Buffon was going for his (Zidane's) 'usual spot'. The pen got in with some luck. In any case, he took pressure pens like against Portugal in the last minute of a semifinal, against England etc. Penalties are not a lottery, it is the player you pick to take them who you gamble on..

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 8:37pm on 05 Feb 2009, jordazNUFCso wrote:

    post 78.
    are you having a laugh???
    no penalties at all???
    so your saying that after 90 mins of football and no goals or a score draw...then 30 mins of extra time then if there is still no score...keep playing at 15 minute halfs untill someone scores?? whats wrong with the way things are??

    and i personally think the penalty shoot out is one of the most exiting ways to end a game if not cruel on the person who misses the decider.

    gavin, whats your thoughts on what post 78 suggested??


    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 8:40pm on 05 Feb 2009, LeeTUFC wrote:

    I must start by saying great blog, as always.

    Best penalty i've ever seen was watching my team Torquay United a couple of seasons ago in league one, penultimate match of the season, had to win to give us a chance of staying up. Penalty 88th minute to win it, Leon Constantine scored in the roof of the net, then ran into the crowd and celebrated for about a minute. Then the ref went and told him he had to retake due to encroachment! Retook it and it was the best penalty i've ever seen, given the situation and baring in mind what had just happened.

    Needless to say we lost the final game of the season and went down with the most points ever in league one (51). Still a great penalty though.

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 8:49pm on 05 Feb 2009, Fahad wrote:

    I am surprised Roberto Baggio and the infamous John Terry didnt get mentioned in this article.

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 10:44pm on 05 Feb 2009, Filipe wrote:

    Before pens were introduced matches were decided by a toss of a coin. Celtic actually won a European Cup quarter-final against Benfica in the 60's with a coin toss. And the say penalty shoot outs are a lottery

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 10:57pm on 05 Feb 2009, bluethirdkit wrote:


    seeing your comment on my ideas - post 78

    for me what's wrong - if it's not part of the game [pressure of penalty shootouts is not like a normal spot kick] then it feels like cheating

    when MUFC won the Champions League last year I felt relieved that we didn't lose, not totally the elation of a win

    who cares about artificial tension and spectacle, that is for the neutral or the americans. The game itself should win through. Anyway if you are a true football fan and you have ever played, surely you would be fascinated to see pampered professionals having to play when they are totaly knackered. As I say, tennis players do it every now and again.

    And it would even out the league a bit as successful cup sides of any cup would potentially play their next league game knackered.

    I agree - I would be fascinated to hear Gavin's thoughts as a professional.

    Complain about this comment

  • 114. At 11:22pm on 05 Feb 2009, thevillan88 wrote:

    Post 93 - Very good shout. James Beattie too seems to have slotted pens without any problems anywhere he goes. Don't recall him missing.

    Surely through all the years of penalty heartache - it would have been worth putting Le Tissier in the England team on a regular basis!

    Complain about this comment

  • 115. At 11:45pm on 05 Feb 2009, kjell_suit SOFBTRC wrote:

    great blog Gavin, as always.

    I was at the ill fated semi final between Dundee United & Celtic (ill fated as i'm an Arab!!)

    having now lost a final and semi final to either half of the old firm on penalties within 11 months it's a pretty safe bet to say I'm not a huge fan of them.

    the semi could have gone either way really, and it's just a pity my team lost out on what was a great night of cup football.

    Complain about this comment

  • 116. At 06:31am on 06 Feb 2009, righteousjibi wrote:

    IN my opinion the penalty shootouts is the best way to finsh this lovely game..It is truly the test of character of a player...Football is a strategic game and the thoughts that come to the mind of a player the pressure he has to handle before he takes the shot ..i remember the champions league fianl when john terry slipped i heart was shattered ..but that is the beauty of the game the adrenalin rush it brings ..
    Truly the Zidane penalty is the all time greatest i have ever seen how could a man in the world cup fianl being the captain of a team playing his last match take such a gamble...Truly is great player more importantly a stronger soul.....

    Complain about this comment

  • 117. At 07:25am on 06 Feb 2009, T Dog wrote:

    The best penalty taker we have had at Leicester in the last few years was Garry Parker, I cant remember him missing one for us. Currently I think Lampard, Murphy and Gareth Barry are the best in the prem.

    Complain about this comment

  • 118. At 09:41am on 06 Feb 2009, OldGrumPie wrote:

    Having been in enforced exile since the early 1970s my main memories are of Don Masson, who regularly slotted them in for Notts. Our then goalie Roy Brown had, I think, a run of five successive saves. Don was the first one I ever saw stop during his run up, the goalie couldn't stop himself going one way or the other and Don then put the ball the other side.

    Complain about this comment

  • 119. At 10:16am on 06 Feb 2009, CASROB wrote:

    Hi Gavin

    Last month you were talking about have a "winter" break in January. Now that the snow has hit us in February can you see why a January winter break could not work. Likewise if you have a February "winter" break then the snow is bound to come in January.

    Complain about this comment

  • 120. At 11:23am on 06 Feb 2009, trustavo wrote:

    two words: JULIAN DICKS.

    confidence doesnt come into it. his teammates wouldve been too scared to say anything!

    Complain about this comment

  • 121. At 12:55pm on 06 Feb 2009, JOL_LYFELLOW wrote:


    IMO, if a penalty goes in, then it's a good penalty!

    Doesn't matter how you do it, just get the job done

    Complain about this comment

  • 122. At 10:07pm on 06 Feb 2009, sceptic_al wrote:

    Before your time but the best penalty taker I recall was Ron Flowers, of Wolves. Never missed for England. I seem to remember he hit them hard and high to the corner. No way for the keeper to get there. Surely most players should be able to hit the inside of the side nets with reasonable confidence?

    Complain about this comment

  • 123. At 10:36pm on 06 Feb 2009, Cliftonvale wrote:

    Gav, a classic pen shootout was the 1990 Celtic v Aberdeen Scottish Cup Final. It went to 8-9 with the Dons coming out on top (it was the closest I've every come to not been able to watch, the tension at Hampden was unbeliveable). Charlie Nicholas pen took a pen for Aberdeen against his beloved Celtic and scored, but he didn't dare celebrate in front of the Celtic fans. Brian Irvine scored the winner for the Dons, great stuff (when your team wins!!)

    Complain about this comment

  • 124. At 6:54pm on 09 Feb 2009, Roger_Smart wrote:

    Personally I believe if two teams are playing a final and they can't get a result after extra time, the cup should go back in the box and no one wins it.
    Case in point - Italy v Brazil in the USA world cup. Neither deserved to win.

    Complain about this comment

  • 125. At 03:49am on 10 Feb 2009, manuste wrote:

    How about, since it's growing popularity due to Soccer AM they start having a crossbar challenge?!

    Complain about this comment

  • 126. At 2:08pm on 12 Feb 2009, dcrulesok wrote:

    There was a guy a couple of years back who came up with an idea called The Advantage - which basically suggested that the penalty shootout takes place before extra time, and whoever wins saidshootout gains the advantage of knowing that if the scores are still tied at the end then they will win the game. This then gives the opposition more incentive to go out and attack for the remaining 30 mins!

    Interesting idea, would liek to see it trialled in a youth tourney or something to see how it works!

    Complain about this comment

  • 127. At 12:28pm on 13 Feb 2009, conorbhoy wrote:

    Artur Boruc's Goal in the shoot out was the best!! haha

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS


Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.