Andrea Pirlo’s performance in midfield was simply sensational against England, spraying his passes all over the pitch, while his chipped penalty was coolness personified. In celebration of his dinked effort that handed Italy the initiative in the shootout, here are the Top 10 Penalty Chips of all time:
1. Antonín Panenka – Czechoslovakia faced the Germans in the 1976 European Championship final and after extra time, the game finished 2-2. In the days before the Germans established their unflappable reputation from the penalty spot, the Czechs managed to hold their own at 3-3. Uli Hoeneß then blazed his effort over the bar, leaving Panenka the opportunity to win the game. Ice cool, he chipped his effort straight down the middle, winning the tournament in the process and handing the Germans their only shootout defeat to date.
2. Helder Postiga – The Portuguese faced England in the quarter finals of Euro 2004 on home soil and after an entertaining 2-2 draw, the game headed to the dreaded shootout. Despite David Beckham blazing the first one over the crossbar, England actually held their own for once, leaving former Tottenham reject Helder Postiga needing to score to keep his side in the competition. He didn’t just score, but more humiliate England, dispatching his effort down the middle before Darius Vassell later missed to send England home.
3. Sebastian Abreu – Whether or not the Uruguayans deserved to reach a penalty shootout is another question after Luis Suarez’s act of blatant cheating, but they sure enough deserved their victory. The pick of the bunch was veteran striker Abreu’s nerveless winner that he slotted past Richard Kingson to send the South Americans into the semi final.
4. Zinedine Zidane – What better time than show off your arrogance from the spot than a World Cup final. Well, we’d expect nothing less from Zizou, the magician himself. Gigi Buffon was on the receiving end of a chipped penalty that night as Zidane gave his side the lead via the underside of the bar. Unfortunately his moronic headbutt on Marco Materazzi meant he wasn’t able to repeat the heroics as Italy won the competition on penalties.
5. Francesco Totti – Another Italian shootout, another wonderfully casual penalty. Whilst it was surprising to see Pirlo pull off the trick, no-one raised an eyebrow when the ultimate maverick Francesco Totti tried it. Italy and the Netherlands drew 0-0 in the semi finals of Euro 2000 after the Dutch missed two penalties in normal time and Totti rubbed salt into the wounds, showing them how to take one properly.
6. Dwight Yorke – The smiling assassin earned himself a move to Manchester United on the back of his performances for Aston Villa, but Sir Alex Ferguson must have been impressed with his coolness under pressure. Yorke was a regular chipper from six yards, although his most memorable was an audacious effort that beat David Seaman and gave his side a 1-0 win over Arsenal. Fitting for a cheeky chappy like Yorke.
7. Thierry Henry – The Frenchman was pretty much the master at everything, so it’s no surprise that he attempted one or two chips in his time. Famous for one against Newcastle in 2003/04 when the scores were locked at 2-2, he also bagged one against Leeds when he destroyed the Whites’ defence all night. Just don’t mention the one he planned with Robert Pires…
And three that went badly wrong
8. Gary Lineker – 1992 and England faced Brazil in a pre-Euro 1992 friendly to warm up for the competition. Lineker was one behind Bobby Charlton in the England all-time goal scoring list on 48 and obviously fancied his chances of levelling in style after England won a penalty. Or maybe not. Lineker never scored for England again either.
9. Yann Kermorgant – The playoff final is apparently worth £90 million to the winner so understandably tensions were running high in the semi final shootout between Leicester and Cardiff. Perhaps it wasn’t the best time for French forward Yann Kermorgant to try his party trick then as he completely fluffed his lines, losing Leicester the game. He was quickly shipped out of the club after that effort.
10. Neymar – Boy wonder he may be, but even the best get it wrong sometimes. The fame and adulation has probably gone to Neymar’s head, but he’d do well not to try and repeat this anytime soon. Just take it conventionally son.