It Went Home – To France. So. My Favourite Penalties of All Time

Yes. It’s all over. It went home to France which seems fair enough, bearing in mind The World Cup tournament itself was the idea of a Frenchman, Monsieur Jules Rimmet (Still gleaming).

The often-inevitable result of any sporting success (and yes, we were successful, we got to the semi-finals against the odds, won a penalty shootout, Harry Kane got the golden boot) or even just a major sporting event, is that during the aftermath there is often a sudden rush on behalf of the populace to ‘get involved’. Unfit men, breathing heavily, whose recent exercise regime involved running a tap and lifting a particularly heavy pint, spontaneously decide it’s time to get out the old football boots, cricket bat or tennis racquet and show the world just what prowess really is.

Also, and quite rightly, major sports events encourage children of all ages to get out into the garden and recreate Harry Kane’s excellent penalties against Panama or Columbia’s excellent rugby tackles against Harry Kane. And what are the consequences? Kicked up turf, squashed strawberry plants and a broken window in the greenhouse.

Well, we can’t help you much except to say the heat means at least you won’t be up to your neck in mud. Keep watering if need be but do it judiciously and at the right time of day (late or early).

And in the meantime, we couldn’t possibly let the end of the World Cup 2018 pass by without pointing out that was a bumper year, an entertaining tournament, and a great showcase for football. So well done Russia.

It was also a bumper time for that most teeth-clenching, nail-biting moment that is the penalty. I know we don’t want to go out on penalties ever again, and we may have finally laid that ghost after our decent shoot-out against Columbia, but it’s time to celebrate the penalty once more. So here are my TOP FIVE favourite penalties of all time. Not all of them for reasons of success or brilliance, in fact, some there purely for how it felt to laugh so much you fell off the sofa with laughter.

  1. The Two Player Penalty What? Really? Yes. It’s 1982. Johan Cruyff, awarded a penalty, rather than leathering it at 200 KPH into the onion bag, passes forward to his former Ajax team-mate Jasper Olsen who runs into the penalty box, passes back to him across the goalkeeper and Johan casually taps it into the goal. Like The Chuckle Brothers with footie skills (to me, to you) these two and their this delightful penalty trick may have stretched the definition of a penalty (poor old Helmond Sport who they were playing certainly thought so) Go Johan.
  2. The ‘Revenge Penalty’ Yes. World Cup 2018. England Versus the WWF…or was it Panama. The South Americans may have kicked, shoved and wrestled seven kinds of heck out of Harry Kane as well as trying to hug him to death in the penalty area, but he just rode it, stayed calm, and when it came down to it, showed his ire at Panama’s tactics not on another player, but by belting another seven kinds of heck out of the ball and smashing it in to the top corner of the net at a pace that left the goalkeeper as lost as a sheep in a candy floss factory. He then casually walked away. Now that is how to deal with dirty play. Go Harry. (He did it twice actually but only one of them counts for this top five)
  3. The ‘OMG I Can’t Believe He Did That’ Penalty. Francesco Totti wasn’t exactly a bad player. In fact, he was a major Italian icon and player and a revered symbol of Roma. However, in 2007 he took what, for me, is one of the most arrogant and foolish penalties ever. Playing against Leese and given the penalty, he ran up to the ball and attempted the cheekiest and most casual of chips… straight down the middle and straight into the waiting hands of the goalkeeper who must have thought it was his birthday. Oops!
  4. The ‘Blow It Like Beckham’ Penalty. It’s the quarterfinals of the World Cup 2004. It’s a penalty shootout. Who is the man you would trust the most to take a vital penalty against Portugal? Yes. Of course. David Beckham. Sir David Of Beckhamton, The golden generation’s poster boy. Hmm… You’d think. But when David ran up the spot to put himself in the hero books he hit the ball so far over the crossbar that, I believe, it was last seen orbiting Uranus. Yes. The man with the golden boot thumped it with all the skill of a Sunday afternoon player after a heavy session. He looked back at the spot as if to blame the ground. Well, we’ve all done that ‘trip, look back, blame the pavement’ trick but it’s still funny. And tragic. We lost the shoot-out 6.5 and `Portugal went through.
  5. The ‘Cheeky Chippy’ Penalty. 2017. Barcelona versus Villareal, La Liga. A dubious penalty decision, with the Villareal defender desperately trying to get his arm out of the way at close range and being penalized, but Lionel Messi turned a dodgy decision into a thing of beauty with this fabulous chipped penalty. He disguised the run perfectly and just at the last moment used that subtle scrape under the ball to fool the goalie and score. This penalty technique is described as ’Panenka’ after the player who first did it, Czechoslovakian Antonín Panenka. But, for his cheekiness, hipster beard and sheer flair, I prefer Messi’s effort. Well-done Lionel. My favourite ever.

So. That’s it from me. If you need good quality garden machinery from brushcutters to mowers to hedgetrimmers, take look at our pages here.

Great service. Came in no time’ J. Burton (TRUSTPILOT June 2018)

In the meantime, do get out in this sun, with or without a ball, and enjoy your garden. Drew Hardy

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