By Nick Harris
SJA Internet Sports Writer of the Year
21 June 2012
So the knockout stage of Euro 2012 has arrived and with it the prospect that matches might be settled on penalties.
And fate has neatly paired the quarter-finalists according to their historical success in penalty shootouts.
The two nations with 100 per cent records – in Euro and World Cup shootouts – are the Czechs (in all incarnations) and Portugal, having respectively won 3 out of 3 and 2 out of 2 shootouts. They meet on Thursday in Warsaw.
The two nations with the worst records are England and Italy, having respectively won 1 of 6 and 2 of 7 shootouts. They meet on Sunday in Kiev.
Two nations both have win-loss records of 3-3 from six shootouts each, and they are Spain and France, who meet in Donetsk on Saturday.
Which leaves Germany, with a near perfect record of 5 shootout wins from 6 at World Cups and Euros, versus Greece, who technically have a perfect record having never lost a shootout (because they’ve never contested one). That pair meet in Gdansk on Friday.
In the history of shootouts at major tournaments – and given this is a European event, we’re counting World Cup finals and European Championships – there have been 35 penalty shootouts since the first shootout in 1976, when Czechoslovakia beat West Germany 5-4 to win Euro 76.
For an overview of trends in those 35 shootouts see ‘Revealed: the art of winning a major tournament penalty shootout’.
Some shootout trivia from 36 years of 12-yard nail-biters
On average there have been 10 kicks per shootout (or 9.8 to be precise) with 343 kicks in 35 shootouts, and 258 kicks scored for a conversion rate of 75 per cent.
For a breakdown of success by foot, shot direction, player age and position and other factors, see this.
The three Czech wins have all come in the European Championship, twice as Czechoslovakia and once as the Czech Republic.
Their first win, 5-4 over Germany in the 1976 final, was also Germany’s one and only loss. Antonin Panenka famously chipped the winner (video below).
The second Czech win was in the 1980 third-place play-off, a 9-8 shootout win over Italy, with Fulvio Collovati missing Italy’s ninth kick, allowing Jozef Barmoš to convert the winner. That 9-8 thriller was the longest of the 35 shootouts to date.
The Czechs’ last win was 6-5 over France in the semi-finals of Euro 96.
So their three wins, 9-8, 5-4 and 6-5 were as close as they could be, with just one failed kick the deciding factor each time, by the Czechs’ opponents.
But it wasn’t like the opponents bottled it. The Czech record of 20 kicks from 20 is outstanding.
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Portugal’s perfect 2/2; England’s agony
As most England fans know, Portugal’s two shootout wins came at England’s expense in consecutive tournaments, at Euro 2004 and then at the World Cup in 2006, both at the quarter-final stage.
In 2004, both sides took seven penalties, and Portugal won 6-5. That was after David Beckham started for England by smashing the ball right-footed a long way over the crossbar. Rui Costa missed similarly with Portugal’s third kick to leave the scores at 2-2. Then six more kicks went in for 5-5 before Darius Vassell had his kick saved.
Vassell hit right-footed to the bottom right-hand corner of the goal as he looked, but Ricardo dived that way (smartly, to his own left) and pushed the ball away. That left Ricardo himself with the next kick, and he drilled it right-footed, low and into the extreme left corner of the goal as he faced it. David James dived the right way but had no chance.
In 2006, Portugal won again, 3-1 after they had taken five penalties and England four. England failed to scored three of their four and Portugal failed with just two of their five.
That shootout went …
Simao: goal. 1-0.
Lampard: right-footed, low and right as he faced goal, just like Vassell two years earlier, with the same result, a Ricardo save. 1-0.
Viana: takes left-footed, aims left as he faces goal. Hits post. 1-0. Then Hargreaves: scores. 1-1. Petit, clearly nervous: wide. 1-1.
Gerrard: right-footed, low and right as he faced goal, just like Lampard and Vassell, with the same result, a Ricardo save. 1-1.
Then Postiga scored. 2-1.
Carragher then smacked his next penalty quickly, into the right of the net. Too quickly, before the ref had blown for it to be taken. Retake. What to do?
Carragher is evidently unsure of hitting it in the same place again, so hits it just left of centre. Ricardo doesn’t need to move much, bending to save. So the score stays at 2-1 still.
Cristiano Ronaldo does a ‘stutter’ run-up but directs the ball into the top right corner as he looks as Paul Robinson goes the wrong way. Portugal win again. 3-1.
Over two shootouts, Portugal took 12 penalties and scored nine, but England had only scored six, from 11.
England’s five misses were Beckham’s blast; Vassell, Lampard and Gerrard all shooting to the same spot where Ricardo saved; and nervous Carragher hitting in a direction he didn’t originally want to hit.
England’s other agonies
World Cup semi-final, 1990. Pearce and Waddle. Meanwhile the Germans scored all their kicks.
Euro 96 semi-final. Southgate. Meanwhile the Germans scored all their kicks.
World Cup 1998, second round. Ince and Batty. Bloomin’ Nora. Meanwhile Argentina scored four of their five goals.
Meanwhile the Germans ….
Germany (including West Germany) have only ever failed to score two penalties, of 28 taken in six shootouts, five of which they won.
Uli Hoeness made an absolute mess of his kick in the 1976 final shootout, blazing over the bar to set up Panenka’s chip of triumph.
And in the 1982 World Cup semi-final shootout against France, a hesitant Uli Stielike gave Jean Luc Ettori an easy saved to make. It didn’t matter anyway as Didier Six and Maxime Bossis failed to convert for France.
Aside from that, Germany have scored every other kick in shootouts: 26 of them, including the other 5 against France and 3 of 4 against the perfect Czechoslovakians in 1976. Germany scored 4 of 4 against Mexico (WC 1986 QF); they scored 4 of 4 against England (WC 1990 SF); they scored 6 of 6 against England (Euro 96, SF); and they scored 4 of 4 against Argentina (WC 2006, QF).
Sportingintelligence has a database of the 35 shootouts and 343 penalties in World Cups and Euros since 1976. Any questions to @sportingintel via Twitter will be answered if there’s time and they’re not too complex!