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5 most high-profile penalty misses in World Cup history

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Lionel Messi missed a penalty in the World Cup opener against Iceland
Parth Athale
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Lionel Messi missed a crucial penalty against Iceland recently which would have given his side the victory. Penalty misses in World Cups can prove costly. But don't worry Leo, you're not alone.

A penalty kick seems easy at the first glance, but that is before the emotions and pressure kick in. Especially in those high-octane moments when so much is at stake on that kick, the composure and calmness are hard to maintain.

Over the years the pressure has got the better of numerous players who have failed to convert from twelve yards. Here are 5 unforgettable penalty misses in World Cup history.


#5 David Trezeguet - France vs Italy, 2006

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The 2006 World Cup final was decided on penalties after neither side was able to snatch a winner. Inevitable on person has to bear the brunt in a shootout but no one thought it would be Trezeguet.

He was one of Europe's best strikers at the time for Juventus. The shootout was 2-1 in favour of Italy and Trezeguet had to level the score. However, he cannoned his strike off the crossbar to give the Azzurri the advantage.

Everyone else converted their spot-kicks and Fabio Grosso scored the clincher to hand Italy the trophy. An absolutely devastating moment for the Frenchman.

#4 Michel Platini - France vs Brazil, 1986

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Platini was at the peak of his powers in the 1980s and he had helped France win the European Championships in 1984.

In the 1986 World Cup, he was playing despite an injury. Though he was nowhere near his best, he was still an important player for the Les Blues. The quarter-final against Brazil went to penalties.

Brazil missed their first penalty and Platini had a chance to make the score 4-3 in favour of France and put the Selecao on the brink. Instead, he blazed his effort way over the crossbar to level the shootout.

Fortunately for him, Brazil missed immediately and Luiz Fernandez converted to hand France the victory. But Platini's penalty was not forgotten, for better or worse.

#3 Zico - Brazil vs France, 1986

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The 1986 Brazil side is arguably one of the best to not win the World Cup. The faced France in the quarter-finals in Mexico.

The score was tied at 1-1 and Brazil needed something to spark them into life. Zico, their talisman came off the bench and provided that spark. The playmaker instantly won a penalty and he took the responsibility as well.

His effort was saved and the match went to penalties where France prevailed. Had Zico converted his spot-kick things could have changed radically.

#2 Asamoah Gyan - Ghana vs Uruguay, 2010

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The quarter-final clash between Ghana and Uruguay in 2010 was one to remember. Ghana were aiming to become the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup and they were up against a tough Uruguay side.

The score was 1-1 as extra time drew to a close and penalties seemed inevitable. Penalties were required, but not before some tremendous drama.

Luis Suarez handled the ball on the goal line to prevent Ghana from scoring and he was duly sent off as the African side got a penalty to win it in the 120th minute.

Asamoah Gyan stepped up in unexpected circumstances and his shot struck the woodwork. The match went to penalties and the Ghanaians succumbed, perhaps never quite recovering from Gyan's miss.

After the match, Gyan said, "I would say Suarez is a hero now in his own country because the ball was going in and he held it with his hand. He is a hero now."

# 1 Roberto Baggio - Italy vs Brazil, 1994

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Baggio had a fantastic World Cup in the USA, scoring five goals to lead his side to the final. In the final, they faced Brazil, who were looking to win their fourth title, just like the Azzurri themselves.

The final itself failed to impress, as either side failed to break the deadlock in regulation as well as extra time. Ergo, penalties commenced.

Franco Baresi missed for Italy but Santos did the same for Brazil. After a couple of kicks, Daniele Massaro failed to convert and Brazil rejoiced. Dunga scored for the Selecao and it was sudden death.

Baggio had to score to keep his side in it and the pressure was enormous. The Italian skied his effort to end the final and leave him rooted to the spot.

Missing the deciding penalty in the World Cup final. A moment you would not want your worst enemy to endure.

Edited by Amit Mishra
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