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The evolution of 'Panenka'

Suman De
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
114   //    Timeless

Golden Foot - Interviews
Golden Foot - Interviews

It was way back in 1976 when a 28-year old Czech footballer stepped up to the dreaded penalty spot, and the rest became history. Antonin Panenka was the curator of one of the most famous kicks in the history of the game. 

Czechoslovakia faced West Germany in the 1976 UEFA European Championship final, and Antonin, who played as an attacking midfielder those days, was given the responsibility to win the title for the Czechs. He perfectly chipped the West German custodian Sepp Maier to hand Czechoslovakia their maiden European title. And since then, Panenka became a well-known figure, and the style of that penalty kick was named 'Panenka'.  

Antonin opened up in an interview to Marca regarding the idea of outsmarting the goalie with a cheeky little dink. He said, during his career, after the training sessions were over he used to practice penalties with his goalkeeper. And to add a bit more spice in it, they used to bet beer, chocolate, and even money. From there, he had the idea that a weak shot might prove successful as it would be impossible for the goalkeeper to adjust his reflexes so quickly. 

Further, when asked about the feelings of the momentous occasion, Antonin recalled that he was 1000 percent sure that he would beat Sepp. There were no nerves what so ever as he was confident that nobody knew his style.   

Well, we all today know what the 'Panenka' means and have seen many players attempting the audacious chip from 12 yards, but only a handful like Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Messi, Andrea Pirlo, to name a few have succeeded. There is no doubt that it takes immense courage for a footballer to even think of trying such an act but despite the consequences, footballers do not refrain from entertaining us. The saddest part is, we get to hear abuses and even death-threats either because of missing a penalty or conceding one.

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