Panenka (penalty kick)

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In association football, the Panenka is a technique used in penalty kick-taking in which the player, instead of kicking the ball toward the left or right corner of the goal, gives a subtle touch underneath the ball, causing it to rise and fall within the centre of the goal thus deceiving the goalkeeper. It was first used by Czech player Antonín Panenka, who presented this technique to the world in the 1976 UEFA European Championship final, when he beat German goalkeeper Sepp Maier to claim the title for the Czechoslovakian national team.[1][2] After its sensational debut in the tournament, the Panenka kick has been used on rare occasions and mostly by highly respected players who can deal with the consequences of missing a penalty kick that way.[3][4] This style of penalty kick is also called Il cucchiaio ("the spoon"), in the Italian speaking world.[5]


The aim of the technique is not to chip the ball over the goalkeeper but to take advantage of the fact that many goalkeepers will dive to either side of the goal in anticipation rather than waiting to see in which direction the ball is going. It is a very risky technique, because the subtle touch on the ball gives it a very slow speed, thus allowing the goalkeeper to move back from where they jumped, or even to simply remain in the same spot and wait for the ball to fall easily into their hands.[6] The move is known for only being used by confident penalty takers who dare to risk missing the kick.[3] Because of the high risk of missing the kick, some players that used the Panenka kick were criticized by the specialized media or their team's members and supporters for being frivolous, using an unnecessary method to score the goal.[7]


Panenka in 2013. His original penalty technique has been imitated by many other players.

The original penalty

Antonín Panenka came to international prominence playing for Czechoslovakia in the 1976 European Championship; Czechoslovakia reached the final, where they faced West Germany. After extra time, the result was 2–2, and so the first penalty shootout in a European Championships final ensued. The first seven kicks were converted, until West Germany's fourth penalty taker, Uli Hoeneß, ballooned his shot over the bar. With the score 4–3, Panenka stepped up to take the fifth Czechoslovakian penalty, to win the match under immense pressure. He feigned shooting to the side of the goal, causing German goalkeeper Sepp Maier dive to his left, and then gently chipped the ball into the middle of the net.[8] The sheer cheek of the goal led a watching French journalist to dub Panenka "a poet", and his winning kick is one of the most famous ever, making Panenka's name synonymous with that particular style of penalty kick.[9]


As well as winning the 1976 European Championship, Panenka helped Czechoslovakia come third in the 1980 tournament, after scoring once again in a 9–8 penalty shootout win.[10] In the finals of the 1982 World Cup, Panenka scored twice with penalties, but these were the only Czechoslovakian goals, and the team did not progress beyond the first group stage.[11][12]

The Panenka penalty has since been successfully performed by many other players, such as Francesco Totti at UEFA Euro 2000, Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final,[9] Sebastian Abreu in the 2010 FIFA World Cup quarter-final, Andrea Pirlo at UEFA Euro 2012,[13][14] and Alexis Sánchez in the 2015 Copa América Final.[15]

Aaron Ramsey of Wales successfully converted a Panenka penalty in a World Cup Qualifier on 11 June 2017 in the same stadium as Antonin Panenka first executed it, the Rajko Mitic Stadium in Belgrade, although he claimed after the match that he was unaware of the stadium's history in this regard.[16] On October 7, 2017, Jozy Altidore of the US National Soccer Team converted a Panenka in a 2018 World Cup qualification match against Panama, the first such attempt in US National Team history.[17]. On 2 December 2017, Antonín Panenka's birthday, Eden Hazard scored a Panenka penalty in a home match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge.


  1. ^ "The footballers who have moves named after them". Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  2. ^ "Antonin Panenka - the footballer Pele described as "either a genius or a madman"". Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  3. ^ a b "Euro 2012: Pirlo's courage to kick a penalty like Panenka helped Italy's 4-2 win over England". The Star. 
  4. ^ "Andrea Pirlo explains THAT Panenka penalty which bamboozled Joe Hart at Euro 2012". The Mirror. 
  5. ^ "Il rigore di Panenka" (in Italian). Storie di Calcio. Retrieved 9 May 2016. 
  6. ^ "I nearly tried a cheeky panenka penalty in Champions League final, admits Drogba". The Daily Mail. 
  7. ^ "Fulham starlet Moussa Dembele misses 'Panenka' penalty in Youth Cup final". The Daily Mail. 
  8. ^ Tom Bryant. "Football - Knowledge: the footballers who have moves named after them". the Guardian. 
  9. ^ a b "The cult of the Panenka penalty". 25 June 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "UEFA EURO 1980 - History - Czechoslovakia-Italy -". 4 October 2003. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  11. ^ "1982 FIFA World Cup Spain - Statistics - Players - Top goals -". 
  12. ^ "1982 FIFA World Cup Spain - Groups -". 
  13. ^ "BBC Sport – Euro 2012 analysis: Peerless Pirlo exposes England". BBC Sport. 24 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  14. ^ "Pirlo: 'Why I chipped Hart'". Football Italia. 24 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  15. ^ "Chile 0-0 Argentina (4-1 pens): Hosts claim first Copa America title with shoot-out victory". Sky Sports. 4 July 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  16. ^ "Aaron Ramsey: 'I didn't know venue was home of the Panenka!'". Mail Online. Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  17. ^
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