World Cup Penalty Guide

World cup penalty guide

One of the most exciting aspects of any World Cup is the prospect of a penalty shoot-out.

There have been some classics spot-kick duels down the years featuring some of the great players of world football.

With 2018 sure to provide more standout moments, Coral have taken a look at all of the key players and vital information from past penalty-shoot outs.

Plus, how do you take the perfect penalty? Read on and find out.

World Cup penalty shootouts

You can’t have a penalty shootout rundown without featuring England.

Since the introduction of shoot-outs in World Cup finals in 1978, England have been knocked out three times from 12 yards.

Stuart Pearce famously missed alongside Chris Waddle against West Germany in 1990. Then Paul Ince and David Batty were the culprits against Argentina in 1998. Three more players were guilty against Portugal in 2006 (more on that later).

England’s record is a far cry from that of Germany – who have won all four of their shootouts. The Three Lions, by contrast, are one of nine nations to have lost all of their spot-kick deciders.

Will England fall victim to a penalty shootout in 2018 or will Gareth Southgate’s men finally break their penalty shootout hoodoo?

Check out the World Cup betting at Coral.

Best penalty takers

Just who are the best penalty takers on the plane to Russia next summer?

Well, Cristiano Ronaldo has converted a record 13 times from the spot in the Champions League. He and Lionel Messi (11 in the CL), will both be there.

As will Sergio Aguero. The Manchester City forward is fifth on the all-time Champions League list alongside Poland’s Robert Lewandowski.

Could this season’s Champions League be settled via a penalty shootout?

You can bet on the outcome of all games with Coral’s Champions League betting.

Since 1986, only seven players have scored in two or more World Cup penalty shoot-outs. However, when it comes to penalties overall, three players stand out above the rest.

Rob Rensenbrink of the Netherlands, Eusebio of Portugal and Gabriel Batistuta of Argentina have taken four penalties apiece in World Cup competitions and scored every one.  

Since the first penalty awarded during the 1930 World Cup, 132 players have taken one in normal game-play.

How to take a penalty

There are three key stages to taking a good penalty – the run-up, the strike itself and the placement. Master those three and the goalkeeper is in trouble.  

The most important aspect is picking a spot and sticking to it. If a player changes his mind, then the outcome is in doubt. Placement is often key – and if complimented by power – the ‘keeper has little chance.  

Most iconic World Cup penalty moments

Stuart Pearce miss v Germany (1990)

England’s first ever penalty heartache came in 1990 against West Germany. After a 1-1 draw, the match went to spot-kicks. Both sides scored their first three, but Stuart Pearce’s miss, followed by another from Chris Waddle, gave the Three Lions their first taste of spot-kick defeat.

Roberto Baggio miss v Brazil (1994)

There’s no crueller way to lose a game than by way of penalties. But to lose a World Cup final from the spot?

That’s what happened to Italy at USA ’94 when Roberto Baggio blazed his kick over the bar against Brazil.

Hong Myung-Bo’s winner in the quarter-final (2002)

South Korea’s run to the semi-finals of the 2002 tournament is still one of the highlights of any World Cup.

The competition co-hosts set up a clash with Germany after Hong Myung-Bo struck the winning penalty against Spain. It sparked jubilant scenes across the country.

Zinedine Zidane’s Panenka v Italy (2006)

The Panenka penalty is the classiest – yet probably most arrogant – way to score from the spot. Only Zinedine Zidane could have the audacity to pull it off in a World Cup final.

The French legend’s chip hit the underside of the bar and only just crossed the line to give France the lead after just seven minutes.

Tim Krul penalty save v Costa Rica (2014)

Tim Krul took the term penalty specialist to a whole new level in 2014. The then-Newcastle United stopper was brought on in the 120th minute against Costa Rica specifically for the penalty shootout.

Manager Louis van Gaal’s decision paid off. Krul saved two penalties to send the Dutch through to the World Cup semi-final.

Will ABBA penalties be used in the World Cup 2018?

After successful trials in UEFA youth competitions in 2017, it’s possible that the new ABBA penalty system will be used in Russia.

But what is the ABBA penalty system? Well, the system was brought in to ensure that teams taking first in a shootout contest do not get an unfair advantage. Once Team A has gone, Team B shoot twice in a row before Team A goes twice and so on.

The good news is English players should have a slight advantage over their World Cup opponents. ABBA penalties are also being used in this season’s Carabao Cup.

World Cup penalty trivia

There may have only been 26 World Cup penalty shootouts to date, but they’ve been packed with high drama and incredible action.

Have you been watching closely? Test your shootout knowledge with our five quick quiz questions.

And remember, you can’t put away the rebound if your first effort hits the post!

1.Which three England penalty takers missed v Portugal in 2006?


2. Name the two nations other than England that have competed in two or more World Cup penalty shootouts and have a 100% losing record.


3.Who scored England’s first-ever penalty in a World Cup spot-kick contest?

A) Stuart Pearce. B) Paul Gascoigne c) Gary Lineker.

4.Which country has participated in a record five World Cup penalty shootouts?

A) Brazil. B) Argentina. C) Germany.

5. In total, how many penalties have been scored in World Cup penalty shootouts?

A) 162. B) 170. C) 159.

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1.  A: Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher

2. A: Mexico and Romania

3.C) Gary Lineker

4. A) Argentina

5.  B) 170


So, how did you do?

1 Correct – You’ve smashed your penalty over the bar and you’re going home early from this quiz.

2-3 Correct – The ‘keeper has made a fantastic save! You’ve done well, but the goalkeeper has pulled one out of the top drawer.

4-5 Correct – You’re the penalty king. You’ve won the shootout and claimed eternal glory.


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