Zinedine Zidane Elfmeter WM 2006

The perfect penalty 

Footballers and pundits around the world have been debating how to take the perfect penalty for years. Zinedine Zidane already had the answer in 2006. 

Seven minutes into the 2006 World Cup final. Zinédine Zidane chips a penalty just right of centre. The ball hits the underside of the crossbar. Italy’s keeper Gianluigi Buffon, having dived away to his right, looks on helplessly as the ball bounces behind the goal-line and it’s 1-0 to France

This is how the perfect penalty should look.

Zinedine Zidane Elfmeter WM 2006

Blink and you’ll miss it! The spin made Zidane’s ball bounce back up onto the bar and out of the goal. Never see that happen again.

© Photo: Getty Images

Penalties - 3 facts - 1 question

1 Only one in 15 World Cup goals has come via a penalty. To date, there have been 150 World Cup penalties in regular time.

2 The first shoot-out in a World Cup was in the 1982 semi-final between West Germany and France. The former won, obviously.

3 In 2013-14, about 83 per cent of pens were scored in the Premier League; 70 per cent of spot kicks are scored in World Cup shoot-outs.

? Why doesn’t the goalie just stay in the middle when facing a penalty? Because only one in 12 penalties is aimed there.

Zinedine Zidane Elfmeter WM 2006

Aiming a penalty kick into the top corner is a certain goal. But it takes nerves of steel to go for it.  

© Photo: Getty Images

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06/2014 The Red Bulletin

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