Penalty Heartbreak: The best sides to lose by penalties in the European Championships
Losing a penalty shootout is the most heartbreaking way to lose a football game but unfortunately, no one’s been able to find a better way of deciding a football match that remains a draw even after extra time. It’s one of the necessities of knockout football, which creates an additional nerve-wracking spectacle for the fans but can be ruthlessly tragic on the players.
Switzerland are the first side to lose via shootout in the ongoing UEFA Euro 2016. The ‘lottery’ as a lot of people appear to call the penalty shootout and although it is about luck to a great extent, it’s also about technique in the face of tremendous pressure. It remains, of course, a devastating way to exit the competition and must give players nightmares for the rest of their careers making them wonder how different their journey in the tournament could have been if they had put the ball into the net from 12 yards.
In this piece we rewind through the years, and look at some of the best sides to lose in the European Championships by a penalty shootout:
Netherlands (Euro 2000)
Netherlands have suffered the agony of a penalty shootout loss several times in the latter stages of tournaments. The semi-finals of Euro 2000 were no different.
Up against a talented and resilient Italian side, just after having thrashed Yugoslavia 6-1 in the quarter-finals, the Dutch were in a rampant mood. A goalless 120 minutes ensued against the Italians though, and a place in the final would be decided by a shootout.
The Netherlands had a pretty disastrous shootout after what had been such a promising tournament. Frank De Boer, Jaap Stam, and Paul Bosvelt all missed as the Italians reached the final at their expense. Patrick Kluivert still managed to end up as the tournament’s joint top scorer with 5 goals.