Three memorable penalty shoot-outs in FIFA World Cup history

As Qatar 2022 reaches the business end of the tournament, the last-16 has already produced two nail-biting penalty shoot-outs. Croatia and Morocco emerged victorious on those occasions, although here is a look back at the most memorable shoot-outs in the history of the FIFA World Cup.

Brazil 0-0 Italy (pens 3-2) – USA 1994

It would be impossible not to start this list without mentioning THAT Roberto Baggio missed penalty. Brazil-Italy back in 1994 was the first World Cup final to go to penalties after a largely uneventful 120 minutes. Italy took first in the shootout, which started with a miss each for Franco Baresi and Marcio Santos. Daniele Massaro’s missed spot-kick and Dunga’s converted one left Roberto Baggio with it all to do in penalty number five. Famously, the former Fiorentina and Juventus man unceremoniously skyed his shot from 12 yards, crowning Brazil with their fourth world title. 

Here in 2022, it was to be even worse luck for Spain in their last-16 shoot-out against Morocco, as La Roja proceeded to miss all three of their spot-kicks. That set up Saturday’s quarter-final between the Atlas Lions and the Euro 2016 winners Portugal, which has Morocco vs Portugal odds of 13/5 to be tied again after 90 minutes. While those sides battle it out, Italy themselves haven’t featured in Qatar, although they sure came close back in USA 1994, with Baggio left to rue perhaps the biggest chance of his career.

Italy 1-1 France (pens 5-3) – Germany 2006

However, Italy would eventually find themselves on the right end of a penalty shoot-out in a World Cup final, with the Azzurri victorious against France back in 2006. The game will be forever remembered for the incident between Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi in extra time of what turned out to be his last game for the French national team. It is easy to forget, though, that both protagonists in that famous scene also got on the scoresheet in Berlin. Zidane’s penalty off the crossbar after 7 minutes was cancelled out by Materazzi’s header just twelve minutes later.

For Italy fans, it is what happened after the 120 minutes of playing time that will be remembered most fondly. The Azzurri took first in the shoot-out with Andrea Pirlo getting the ball rolling with a goal, and they proceeded to convert all five spot-kicks in a pressure-filled Olympiastadion. In the end, it was France’s missed second kick that would prove fatal, courtesy of David Trezeguet, as Fabio Gross struck home Italy’s fifth and final spot-kick to make it 5-3 in the shoot-out and crown the Azzurri with their fourth World Cup in the nation’s history.

West Germany 1-1 England (pens 4-3) – Italia 1990

Naturally, there had to be an entry on this list that included the failings of an England team in a penalty shoot-out. The Three Lions have famously been on the losing side of multiple shoot-outs, a hoodoo that was momentarily overcome in the 2018 World Cup but returned in the finale of Euro 2020. No better was this penalty ‘curse’ epitomized than in England’s second-highest finish in a World Cup to date, at Italia 1990.

West Germany went ahead on 60 minutes thanks to a Paul Parker own goal, before England’s Gary Lineker drew his side level nine minutes from the final whistle to take the game to extra-time. An eventful additional 30 minutes saw both sides come close before penalties were used to decide a vital match yet again. Germany showing typical efficiency with their converted four kicks, leaving England to be the architects of their own downfall once more. Stuart Pearce saw his kick saved before Chris Waddle blazed over the bar, as it was yet more heartbreak for England in a major tournament, something which new manager Gareth Southgate has aimed to eradicate.

With Morocco and Croatia gaining valuable shoot-out experience in Qatar, it remains to be seen whether this will stand them in good stead in the last-eight of the competition and beyond. The end is fast approaching as the World Cup reaches its nail-biting conclusion on December 18.

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