World Cup History: Biggest penalty misses

The FIFA World Cup is know in the knockout stages and fans have been treated with so much excitement after the round-of-16 matches.

With first eight games in the knockout stages done and dusted, there have been so much drama to entertain even the most casual World Cup fans.

Some teams expected to battle for the title have bowed out much to everyone’s surprise, while there are some teams that continue to defy the odds and are still in the hunt for the elusive title and a distinction to be the world’s best.

Furthermore, the knockout stages now bring in the thrilling and gut-wrenching penalty shootout, with the 2018 World Cup already needing three shootouts to determine the winners.

Russia, England and Croatia found themselves on the good side of the shootout, while Spain, Denmark and Colombia packed their bags after failing to convert their spot kicks.

In the history of the World Cup, there have been plenty of drama brought by the penalty shootout, and here are some of the most famous misses in the competition.


Starting off with one of the most famous misses from the penalty spot, Roberto Baggio is considered one of the best players to ever take part in the World Cup.

Representing Italy, Baggio was at the forefront of the team’s impressive journey in the competition at the United States back in 1994.

Helping his team reach the final against the mighty Brazil, Italy held their own throughout the contest and restricted their opponents from scoring. After 120 minutes, the game was still goalless and had to be settled with a penalty shootout.

After four attempts each, Brazil were leading 3-2 and Baggio was set to take the team’s final kick. He needed to convert in order to force the Brazilians to take another spot kick but unfortunately sent the ball well over, sending Italy crashing to the ground with a heartbreaking loss.


England have been synonymous to World Cup penalty shootout defeats in recent memory and none might be as painful as what transpired in 1990 against Germany.

Since winning the World Cup in 1966, this semi-final clash was the closest that the Three Lions came and it was a highly competitive match-up with both teams scoring once each to send the game to penalties.

The Englishmen were first to take the spot kicks with Gary Lineker lining up to convert his attempt to give the team a 1-0 advantage. However, the Germans were up to par and matched the Englishmen’s efforts until the clash was tied at 3-3.

Stuart Pierce missed the game’s first penalty shot, and Germany took advantage by converting to take the 4-3 lead, leaving Chris Waddle with the duty to keep England’s hopes alive by converting.

Waddle lined up the shot but painfully crashed against the bar and soon after, the Englishmen’s hopes came crashing to the ground as they were eliminated from the competition.


In the history of the World Cup, there have only been two instances where the final was decided by a penalty shootout. The first one being in 1994, and the other in 2006.

The first one saw Baggio’s penalty miss for Italy and the 2006 edition finally favoured the Italian side when they faced France in the showpiece clash.

Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi made headlines in this final as both scored goals for their respective sides, but the former eventually received a red card after throwing a headbutt to the latter.

The match eventually ended 1-1 and needed penalties to decide the winner and David Trezeguet’s miss would go down as the main difference in the competition.

Italy were first and Andrea Pirlo converted only to be matched by Sylvian Wiltord. Materazzi was up next for the Italians and he converted before Trezeguet’s attempt smashed the bar and out, being the only player to miss in the penalty shootout as Italy took advantage of the miscue to win 5-3.