by Stuart Moriarty-Patten

In the last two games Euro 2012 has developed into the tournament of the penalty shootout.  Love them or hate, they do add a sense of excitement to a game and can leave memories that remain for years after, just ask Gareth Southgate.

Life before the penalty shootout

Prior to penalty shootouts, the flick of a coin or the drawing of lots would decide the winner of tied games, giving a different meaning to winning a 50-50.  Teams who have benefited from this include Turkey in a 1954 world cup qualifier with Spain.  Turkey, despite having lost on aggregate over two matches as only the results mattered and not the score, still went through when their name, rather than Spain’s, was drawn from a pot.  Liverpool won on the toss of a coin in the 1964-5 European Cup quarter-finals, after they and Cologne had played out two 0-0 draws and then a 2-2 draw in a play-off in Amsterdam.  Italy progressed in a similar fashion to the final of the 1968 European championships after a 0-0 semi-final draw with the USSR.  Instead of worrying about goal line technology perhaps England should campaign to bring back the toss, at least you can’t bottle that.

The first penalty shootout

There had been several examples of penalty shootouts before it was officially recognised by FIFA in 1970.  Possibly the first was in a 1952 Yugoslavia cup game when Kvarner Rijeka beat Proleter Osijek 4-3 on penalties following a 0-0 draw.

In England the first penalty shootout was in the semi-finals of the Watneys Cup in 1970 when Man Utd beat Hull.  This saw all sorts of records being set, with the first scorer in a penalty shootout in England being George Best, the first to miss, Denis Law, and the first keeper to take a kick being Hull’s Ian Mckechnie, who sadly also became the first keeper to miss a kick at the same time.

The longest penalty shootout

Unbelievably a shootout in the Dominican Republic took over a week to complete.  After the Dominicans Cup Final of 29 September 2002 between Harlem and ACS Zebians ended 0-0, the referee lost count of the penalties taken during the shootout and declared Harlem the winners even though Zebians still had one to take.  After an appeal the shootout was resumed on October 6 when Zebians eventually won.

The worst penalty shootout

In a major tournament this has to be the shootout between Steaua Bucharest and Barcelona in the 1986 European Cup Final when the first four penalties were all missed.  Steaua managed to score their next two but Barcelona failed to convert any, leaving Bucharest as Champions of Europe that year.

Even worst though was the 1985 Finnish Cup final between HJK and Haka.  The first seven penalties were all missed before Dahllund of HJK managed to score.  However, HJK missed their next two, while Haka suddenly found their scoring boots, and scored their next two to win 2-1.

The worst of all time though was in January 1998 when, a match between Mickleover Lightning Blue Sox and Chellaston Boys finished 1-1, in the Derby’s Community Cup, a competition for nine and ten year old children.  The Blue Sox won the shootout 2-1, but not until a total of 66 penalties had been taken.

The best penalty shootout

The best in an international competition is a thriller in the 2006 African Cup of Nations.  After the quarter final between Ivory Coast and the Cameroons ended 1-1, Ivory Coast eventually won on penalties 12-11 with all the first 22 goals being scored by all the 22 players who were on the pitch at the end of the game.  Eto’o became the first to miss with his second penalty, and Drogba slotted home the winner for the Ivorians.

The record for spot kicks converted though was set in a 2009 game between Argentinian teams Juventud Alianza and General Paz Juniors. The first 40 penalties were all scored before Juniors’ keeper Marcos De Tobillas saved one then picked himself up and slotted home the winner.

The penalty shootout that should never have happened

Glasgow Rangers had one of their most famous triumphs when they won the Cup Winners Cup in 1972, beating Moscow Dynamo 3-2 in the Nou Camp. Bizarrely though, they almost got knocked out in the second round of the competition by Sporting Lisbon.  The Dutch referee called for a penalty shootout after the tie had ended 6-6 on aggregate.  Rangers lost the shootout only to be informed afterwards, by a Scottish journalist, that they should have won as they had scored more away goals, a fact everyone had overlooked.  Rangers appealed and were reinstated into the competition and 6 months later lifted the trophy.