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Penalties – the ultimate tournament shoot-out (Part One)

This Sunday, the finals of two international football; tournaments will take place.

England will play Italy in the finals of the Euros at Wembley Stadium in London, whilst 6,000 miles away, Brazil will play Argentina at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

They both promise to be close matches, and fine margins may decide the outcome on the day.

However, whatever happens, it is guaranteed that there will be a winner in each case. That is because there are no replays in the event of a draw. Extra time will eb played and then, if the scores are still level, it will go to penalties.

Although the use of penalties to decide the outcome of drawn matches had been popular since the 1950s in some countries like the former Yugoslavia as early as the 1950s, the idea did not gain wider acceptance until 15 years later, when the idea was accepted at he 1970 meeting of IFAB (International Association Board).

Introduced into European club football later that same year, it would be several years before they were used to decide the final of international tournaments,

However, since then, seven major finals have been decided in just such a fashion.

 Here is a brief recap of each.

1976 Euros Czechoslovakia West Germany

The 1976 European Football Championships were held in one country, and the fianl contested between two others, that do not exist anymore, at least as they were then constituted.

Yugoslavia were the hosts, and the two countries that made it through to the fianl in Belgrade were Czechoslovakia, and West Germany.

The Germans, who were the defending champions, began badly, and fell behind in the eighth minute  toa goal from Ján Švehlík. And things became worse for them when Karol Dobiaš  added a second, only for Dieter Müller to halve the deficit two minutes later. And then, with tow minutes of normal time left, Bernd Hölzenbein equalised to force extra time

That failed to produce a winner, meaning that, for the first time ever, it went to a penalty shoot-out.

The first seven were all converted but Uli Hoeness skied his, giving Antonin Panenka the chance to make history. And he did so with the chipped effort that still bears his name to this day,

1994 World Cup Final Brazil Italy

In 1994, the World Cup was staged in the United States for the first time, and Brazil and Italy met in a replay of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico 24 years earlier.

Held in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, it was the first World Cup fianl which finished scoreless after both regular and extra time, necessitating a penalty shoot-out. Franchino Baresi missed the first spot-kick for Italy, but so did Márcio Santos  for Brazil. The next four penalties were all converted but then Daniele Massaro missed his kick for Italy. Dunga scored for Brazil, meaning that Roberto Baggio had to score to keep his country in the tournament. He lent back, the ball went sailing over the bar, and the Cup was Brazil’s for the fourth time.  

1995 Copa América Uruguay Brazil

A year later and the boot was on the other foot, as Brazil lost a shoot-out, this time in the fianl of the Copa América, which was staged that year in Uruguay. It was the host nation that made it through to the final, which was played in Montevideo on July 23rd.

Brazil took the lead through Túlio, but Uruguay equalised after half-time with goal from Pablo Bengoechea. With no further goals in the match, penalties were required, and Uruguay were faultless from the spot, converting all five of their efforts. Túlio, though, failed from 12 yards and the spoils and the trophy went to Uruguay.

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