• August 1, 2021

Exclusive: Antonin Panenka reveals fascinating story behind famous penalty at Euro ’76 replicated by Lionel Messi, Andrea Pirlo and Zinedine Zidane

 Exclusive: Antonin Panenka reveals fascinating story behind famous penalty at Euro ’76 replicated by Lionel Messi, Andrea Pirlo and Zinedine Zidane


Antonin Panenka’s famous chipped penalty has been replicated time and again over the last 45 years in some of the biggest games in world football.

It is a remarkably simple and often effective way of taking a spot-kick. Get it right and the deft shot will make you look like a genius who has outfoxed the helpless goalkeeper.

Panenka gave his name to the famous penalty that won Euro 1976 for his country

Getty

Panenka gave his name to the famous penalty that won Euro 1976 for his country

talkSPORT tracked Panenka down and he explained all about the penalty

talkSPORT tracked Panenka down and he explained all about the penalty

Get it wrong though and the ball will float into the arms of the ‘keeper and the player looks rather foolish.

We’ve seen Zinedine Zidane use the technique in a World Cup final in 2006 while others like Lionel Messi, Francesco Totti, Andrea Pirlo, and Sergio Ramos have executed it to perfection in big moments.

But players like Gary Lineker have fluffed attempts, like his against Brazil in 1992, and it’s remembered to this day.

Panenka was the man to first try it and gave his name to the technique.

Lineker famously fluffed his effort against Brazil in 1992

GETTY

Lineker famously fluffed his effort against Brazil in 1992

In the 1976 European Championship final, 45 years ago today, the Czechoslovakia attacking midfielder stepped up to win the game in the shoot-out after the match finished 2-2 with West Germany after extra-time.

The sheer audacity of the goal sent shockwaves through the football community and his name remains synonymous with the penalty kick to this day.

Zidane had the confidence to attempt it in the 2006 World Cup final

Zidane had the confidence to attempt it in the 2006 World Cup final

talkSPORT’s James Savundra tracked down the man himself on the 45th anniversary to find out exactly how it came about.

“I got the idea some two years before Euro 1976, I practiced it almost daily. Maybe four or five times a week at every training session,” Panenka told talkSPORT.

“At the start, it was quite easy for me as nobody knew about this special penalty kick. Nobody expected it.

“It was easy to convert penalties with this now famous chip goal called Panenka. As time passed, it was more and more difficult for me. 

“My psychological task was to get the goalie to think I would shoot the penalty kick in this normal way, not with this chip.

“This was the main task in the later stages of the development of the Panenka penalty kick, it was to make all goalkeepers think the penalty would be converted in the normal way. 

“I didn’t see it as a risk as the penalty was really well practiced by me before the tournament in Belgrade in Yugoslavia. 

“I was really convinced I couldn’t fail with this sort of penalty. I was convinced it would be okay to convert the penalty in the final against Germany.”

Panenka admitted he did have some regrets that his career was in the Communist era

Panenka admitted he did have some regrets that his career was in the Communist era

Like it or loathe it, the Panenka penalty is here to stay and it will only be a matter of time before we see one at Euro 2020.

When asked about the reaction to it, Panenka added: “I think the majority of people like the penalty, but I did get some criticism when I did use it in the final in 1976. Even Sepp Maier, the German goalie, said I ridiculed him.

“It wasn’t my task to make a clown out of him.

“For me, it was the effectiveness of the penalty which really paid off.”

It was his penalty that delivered a famous win for his country in 1976 against a German team who had dominated world football.

But Panenka admits there was some regrets in his career having lived under the Communist regime.

“It’s a big honour to have won the Euros from the sporting side,” he added. “If you take it politically in hindsight, I would say we lived under the Communist regime and the conditions were not very convenient for selling our successes.

“Not only financially but also on the sporting field, like being able to play in Western clubs.

“It is a good feeling, but sometimes I do have some regrets that I lived in a different era.”





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