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Forget fancy – Jordan Pickford’s emphatic penalty stole the show in Portugal

England's goalkeeper scored the best spot kick in a mixed bag of a shootout

After Simone Zaza’s fluffed penalty in 2016 we thought we would have seen the end of the Panenka.

No-one would want to endure that backlash again, surely?

If anything, Zaza’s mishap has led to a surge in the modern trend of obscure penalties.

Zaza thought he could be Zizou

AP:Associated Press
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Zaza thought he could be Zizou

England’s third place play-off with Switzerland showed the extremes players will go to to stand out from the crowd.

Ross Barkley went for a Panenka, Granit Xhaka calmly rolled one home and Manuel Akanji strolled up to the ball before firing it into the top corner.

All very eye-catching, all very impressive.

But all running the risk of becoming a new living meme.

Are you Zaza in disguise?

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Are you Zaza in disguise?

Step forward Josip Drmic who did his best ‘Zaza’ with a stutter before Jordan Pickford palmed it away.

If the Borussia Monchengladbach forward had buried it, who knows, maybe it would have added £2million to his price tag.

It might even make it on to his ‘Goals & assists 2018/19’ YouTube compilation.

But Pickford guessed right and left egg on the forward’s face.

Scored one, saved one

Getty - Contributor
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Scored one, saved one

Only three kicks before Drimic we saw the classic ‘welly’ into the corner from the man who denied the Swiss substitute, Pickford.

England’s number one took it back to the ‘old school’ with a thunderous strike which surpassed any of the outfield players’ attempts.

No stuttering, no subtlety, just raw power into the side netting.

Substance over style

Getty - Contributor
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Substance over style

A lot of modern players could take a leaf out of the 25-year-old’s book.

The worst culprit for the unconventional penalty in the Premier League is Paul Pogba.

The Man United midfielder missed three penalties in last season’s Premier League, more than any other player.

And two more than Matt Le Tissier missed out of his 48 in the Premier League.

So his trademark style is not only irritating, but ineffective as well.

 

Players have been creative with their penalties for a long time now.

Antonin Panenka himself is now 70 years old, so it’s hardly a new style in football.

But the meteoric rise he created back in the 70s has spread like wildfire across the footballing world.

A true trailblazer

AFP or licensors
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A true trailblazer

In the last eight years we have seen Andrea Pirlo emasculate Joe Hart at Euro 2012, Luis Suarez has chipped one in during a Copa del Rey semi-final and Alexis Sanchez scored a cheeky decider in the Copa America final shootout back in 2015.

Sergio Ramos, Eden Hazard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Neymar and Lionel Messi have all attempted the iconic technique and managed to score.

Ramos has scored eight penalties this season, four of which were chipped.

What was once trendy is now very much mainstream. 

As *roughly* 25% of penalties are missed, there are inevitably blunders that come out of the new age styles.

Raheem Sterling spooned one over the bar against Leicester in the Carabao Cup.

Richarlison also managed to fluff his lines in the same competition, ultimately costing Everton their place in the cup.

He should take lessons from his keeper

Getty - Contributor
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He should take lessons from his keeper

Arrogance is a necessity if you are to going to attempt one, you might be chasing fame or showing off to your new girlfriend in the crowd.

But should they really be applauded?

Of all the penalties taken between England and Switzerland, the best and most eye-catching was Pickford’s.

Be more like Jordan. 



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