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Zinedine Zidane, the former France midfielder, showed steel-like nerves to score a memorable goal against Italy.
Zinedine Zidane, the former France midfielder, showed steel-like nerves to score a memorable goal against Italy.

Penalty takers who had the audacity to dare

From the Cruyff turn to Zidane's 'Panenka', The National recalls some of the most innovative and memorable spot kicks ever taken. Videos

From the Cruyff turn to Zidane's 'Panenka', Thomas Woods recalls some of the most innovative and memorable penalties ever taken.

Johan Cruyff

The Dutch maestro is one of the greatest to play the game. He even invented his own move, the Cruyff turn.

In 1982, he took a revolutionary penalty while playing for Ajax. Striding up to the ball, he passed it sideways to Jesper Olsen, rather than shooting at goal. His teammate then returned the favour, allowing Cruyff a tap in.

This was technically legal. The ball has to go forward at a penalty, which it did, and all other players have to be outside the area when the shot is taken, which they were.

Thierry Henry and Robert Pires tried to recreate this for Arsenal against Manchester City in 2005, except Pires scuffed his attempted pass and the ball barely moved from the spot.

Arsene Wenger, the manager, defended the pair after Arsenal won the game 1-0, and Henry took the blame, saying: "It was my fault, had it worked, it would have been a brilliant idea, but it did not work. Robert's leg went numb."

Ezequiel Calvente

The young Spanish winger may well become a household name in years to come, but he has already garnered worldwide attention with an audacious penalty in last year's Under 19 European Championships against Italy.

With his team 2-0 up, the Real Betis player was handed the chance to extend Spain's lead from the spot. While his run up was normal, Calvente baffled the goalkeeper by taking his shot "early".

As he shaped up to take the kick with his right foot, he instead switched his balance at the last moment and shot with what should have been his standing foot, his left.

It was so subtle that it is only on viewing a replay that Calvente's technique becomes clear. The Italian players were not happy about his showboating, but at least it was not as blatant as Theyab Awana's effort on Sunday night.

Spain lost in the final to France.

Antonin Panenka

While Cruyff has a turn named after him, the Czech legend Panenka has a penalty in his name. What makes the Panenka so brilliant is that the midfielder first tried it out competitively in the final of the 1976 European Championships, to win the game with the last kick of a penalty shoot-out.

Czechoslovakia had drawn 2-2 with Germany at extra time. The scores in the shoot-out stood at 4-3 when Panenka strolled up, faked to shoot and delicately chipped the ball down the centre of the goal after Sepp Maier, the goalkeeper, had already dived to the right.

It is as penalty that has been recreated many times down the years, not always successfully. Sebastian Abreu pulled off a Panenka in the World Cup quarter-final shoot-out for Uruguay against Ghana.

But spare a thought for poor Yann Kermorgant, then of Leicester City. He failed spectacularly attempting to recreate a Panenka in a shoot-out against Cardiff City for a place in the English Championship play-off final, a match which sees the winners promoted to the Premier League.

The Frenchman's dink was so feeble that David Marshall, the Cardiff goalkeeper, was able to catch the ball while sat on his behind in the middle of the goalmouth. Hence Leicester missed the chance to play Premier League football, and with it a windfall of around 60 million (Dh354m). Kermorgant was released from his contract that summer.

Zinedine Zidane

There is perhaps one Panenka more famous than the original - Zidane's.

There are few stages bigger than a European Championship final. In fact there is probably only one - the World Cup final.

Add to the mix that Zidane was going to retire from football after the game and his spot kick was a display of steel-like nerves from a true great.

France won an early penalty against Italy in Berlin's Olympic Stadium, the former World Player of the Year stepped up and "Panenka-ed" the ball home, leaving Gianluigi Buffon, the Italy keeper, stranded on the floor.

Zidane's heart must have been in his mouth however, as his chip was just a little too strong and it hit the underside of the crossbar before bouncing behind the line and out again. The goal stood.

Most people have forgotten Zidane's moment of magic because of his actions later in the game. The Algerian-born midfielder butted Marco Materazzi, the Italian centre-back who had earlier made it 1-1, in extra time.

It was rumoured that the Italian had made a slur about a member of Zidane's family. Whatever the provocation, this moment of madness cost Zidane the chance to take another penalty in the shoot-out, which Italy won to be crowned world champions.

Joonas Jokinen

Shaolin Soccer is a heartwarming film about a down-on-his-luck former footballer who meets a kung-fu master determined to promote the martial art.

They team up and the result is monks playing football with superhuman kung-fu skills. It sounds fanciful because it is.

However, one footballer must have watched the film a few too many times and taken it a little too seriously.

Baniyas' Awana will have to go some to collect as many YouTube views as Joonas Jokinen, a Finnish teenager who plays for Swiss lower league side FC Baar.

Jokinen has 6.5 million views and counting of his mind-boggling penalty against FC Sempach.

The Finn ran up to the ball and as he struck it, he launched himself in the air, performing a twisting double somersault while the ball sailed into the top corner.

It is hard to see what the purpose of the somersault was though.

twoods@thenational.ae

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