Striking a stationary ball from 12 yards toward a goal that’s 8 yards wide and 8 feet high should be straightforward. They’re professional footballers after all just doing their jobs. Missing would be like Bruce Springsteen forgetting the lyrics to a song during an arena gig. However, the immense pressure can break the most confident of players. Two players not short of an ego missed tournament defining penalties on the biggest stage. Today we’re debating which was the worst miss: it’s Terry v Baggio.
Terry v Baggio: Making the case for John Terry’s howler
A penalty to win the Champions League final. It’s what dreams are made of. Chelsea had met Man United in the 2008 decider. After a tight 90 minutes, the game went to extra-time at 1-1. No goal was scored in the additional half-hour so the game went to penalties. Chelsea had scored their first four penalties. With Ronaldo missing for United, the stage was set for Terry to score which would mean Chelsea’s first ever Champions League trophy.
‘Captain Fantastic’ stepped up for the Blues. Perhaps showing nerves, he fiddled with his captains armband on the long and lonely walk to the penalty spot. Van De Saar waited in the United goal. Terry ran up to the spot full of eagerness but with a little too much speed. The England captain then slipped just before he struck the ball. Ending up his backside, Terry could only look on in horror as the ball hit the outside of the right post. United would eventually prevail in the shootout leaving some people to wonder why Steven Gerrard is always the butt of slipping jokes?
Terry v Baggio: Making the case for Roberto Baggio’s ‘ave it’ moment
Baggio was class. What a joy it was to witness his ponytail bobbing around the back of his blue jersey while another defender was left bamboozled. USA 94 was meant to be Baggio’s year. Italy had recovered from being beaten by Ireland in the group stages to qualify for the final. Their opponents would be the Romario inspired, Brazilians.
It would turn out to be a World Cup final to forget when it came to the quality of football on show. The two sides cancelled each other during normal and extra time. Penalties would prove low on quality but high on drama. Santos had missed for Brazil, while Baresi and Massaro had not converted for the Azzurri. This left Baggio needing to score to keep Italy in the tournament. When he started his run from outside the penalty box, one hoped that it was in prepartion for another piece of Baggio magic. Unfortunately for Italy his penalty was ballooned over the bar in a manner that Harry Arter recently tried to recreate. Italy were out. Brazil were champions, and Baggio would never truly recover.
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Next? Check out Luis Suarez v Gonzalo Higuain