The game of football has left an indelible emotion on every football fan irrespective of the team they cheer for and it has graced talented footballers from the nooks and crannies of this world ranging from the likes of Pele, Marodona, Platini, Muller in the 80’s to Messi, Ronaldo, Xavi, Iniesta, Pirlo of this generation.
A certain name – Antonin Panenka wasn’t a household name and not known for his skills or pace. He made himself known to the whole world with the “soft-chip” he did while he played the last kick in the penalty shoot-out against West-Germany in a climax fixture at the European championship in 1976 with Czechoslovakia now Czech Republic. He was an attacking midfielder known for his quality passing and his free kicks; he had good techniques but didn’t have the style and guile that will put him on football articles every week just like Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Antonin Panenka came up with an idea on the training ground of Prague club, Bohemians.
“I decided that it was probably easier to score by feinting to shoot and then just gently tapping the ball into the middle of the goal”.
The mystery about the invention of the penalty kick style was overwhelming that even the house-hold names in football as at Antonin Panenka’s time couldn’t come up with a show-piece that will leave a trail for others to follow. Pele said –
“it could be attempted either by a genius or a madman.”
But I would say it can only be attempted by a genius and footballer with a great technique.
A few footballers has followed Panenka’s footsteps on football’s big stage competition since its inception thirty-eight years ago and counting.
Zinedine Zidane – The final match between France and Italy in Germany 2006 world cup
Sebastian Abreu – The last kick for Uraguay after 1-1 draw in quarter-final in South Africa and that was the kick that took them into the semi-final of the competition for the first time in 40 years.
Francesco Totti – The match between Italy and Holland at Euro 2000 which ended 3 – 0 in favor of Italy. He is the first Italian to take a Panenka penalty.
Sergio Ramos – He scored the penalty kick with the Panenka style against Portugal at Euro 2012.
Andrea Pirlo – The quarter-final stage at Euro 2012 between Italy and England.
Younes Belhanda – He is in the Antonin Panenka’s record book as the first African player to execute a penalty in a panenka style. He used it in scoring against Arsenal on Match day 1 of the Champions league 2012/2013 which at the end they lost 1-2.
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