Ultimate XI's

Ultimate XIs- The Penalty Heartbreakers

Hello!

Welcome back to another XI, today I have decided to put together a team of players who have missed a penalty in a major final shootout during the 21st century (2000 and onwards).

Only one World Cup final has resulted in a penalty shootout since 2000, but there have been plenty of major finals that have given us dramatic penalty shootouts!

Let’s see the team of those who failed from 12 yards!

GOALKEEPER- Thibaut Courtois

Finding a goalkeeper for this XI was not going to be an easy task, and at one stage I was considering bending the rules, but finally I stumbled onto Courtois’ miss in the 2017 Community Shield (which basically counts as a final).

The Belgian is the only selection from a ‘Super Cup’ or any of the equivalent games like this. His penalty was taken more like a goal kick and went sailing into the Wembley stands to give Arsenal their 15th Community Shield win.

Courtois is the only goalkeeper I could find, but to be fair he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world at the moment, so he fits into this XI pretty nicely.

LEFT BACK- John Arne Riise

I wonder how many Liverpool fans actually remember Riise’s miss in the 2005 Champions League final… To be fair even though he missed the third penalty Liverpool’s shootout win was never really in doubt as Milan missed three of their five penalties.

Riise placed his penalty right in the corner, but Dida just about managed to get his hand to it. The Norwegian was an excellent left back for Liverpool, and he was actually an integral part of the side that triumphed in Istanbul.

Not many penalty misses in a shootout, in a final can be so quickly forgotten, but Riise’s inconsequential miss is probably one of the most forgettable things about that game!

RIGHT BACK- Dani Alves

Dani Alves is another full back who’s penalty miss in the 2007 UEFA Cup final didn’t actually matter, as his side went on to win the shootout comfortably. Sevilla beat Espanyol in the shootout after a 2-2 draw.

Alves blazed his penalty over the bar, which is incredibly unlike him as he is one of the best technical right backs to ever play the game. Nevertheless Sevilla secured the second of their five UEFA cup/ Europa League titles.

Alves has won 42 major trophies throughout his career, with the majority coming at Barcelona, so part of me thinks that even if Sevilla lost he wouldn’t have minded that much!

CENTRE BACK- John Terry

John Terry took what is probably the most costly missed penalty in this XI and I’m sure you all remember it. The 2008 Champions League final in Moscow was going to be heading to Stamford Bridge, as long as Terry scored Chelsea’s fifth and final penalty…

The Chelsea captain slipped and his penalty hit the post leaving him in tears after Man United then went on to win the shootout. Terry eventually did win the Champions League in 2012, however he was unavailable for the final meaning he just had to settle with lifting the trophy… in his full kit.

This was one of footballs most famous moments of the 2000’s and this Miss must still haunt Terry to this day…

CENTRE BACK- David Luiz

David Luiz is known as a set piece specialist, but this did not help him in the 2019 Carabao Cup final as he missed Chelsea’s fourth penalty to give Manchester City the title.

His spot kick wasn’t actually that bad, it came off the inside half of the post, although Ederson had gone the right way so he may have even saved it. Chelsea were expected to be hammered by Man City in this game, so making it to penalties was actually an achievement for the Blues.

Luiz’s cavalier style means that it’s almost inevitable that he has missed a penalty in a final, but he makes it into this XI.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD- Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard makes this because of his miss in the 2012 League Cup final, I say miss but it was an exceptional save by Cardiff’s Tom Heaton.

Gerrard is the second Liverpool player in this XI to have missed in a penalty shootout win, but this probably down to their good record in penalty shootouts!

He is one of the best Liverpool players ever, but he doesn’t actually have an excellent record in shootouts, also missing for England at the 2006 World Cup…

CENTRAL MIDFIELD- Andrea Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo’s penalty in the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul is probably one of the worst in this XI. The Italian just strolled up the ball and hit a tame effort straight at Jerzy Dudek.

Pirlo was an accomplished penalty taker, as Joe Hart will remember, but his effort certainly contributed to Milan’s downfall in a game they led 3-0 at Half Time.

There were two other Milan players who missed so Pirlo can’t take sole responsibility for the shootout loss. He probably made up for it a year later when he buried a penalty in the 2006 World Cup final shootout that Italy went on to win.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD- Patrick Vieira

Patrick Vieira completes an all star midfield, and his miss came in the 2000 UEFA Cup final against Galatasaray. Arsenal have lost all three of their European finals this century, and it all started with this night in Copenhagen.

The Frenchman’s penalty rattled off the crossbar and it gave Galatasaray the opportunity to win if they scored the next penalty, which of course they did.

Much like Pirlo, Vieira redeemed his shootout reputation in the 2005 FA Cup final, where he buried the winning penalty to help Arsenal beat Manchester United.

LEFT WING- Cristiano Ronaldo

We go back to the 2008 Champions League final for this miss, and with probably the most shocking miss of the lot…

Ronaldo had been scoring goals all season for Man United, and his form saw him win the 2008 Ballon D’or, but would this have been the case had John Terry not spared his blushes. As aforementioned, it had looked as if Ronaldo has cost Man United the game, but thanks to Terry’s miss, it is hardly remembered.

The penalty was pretty pathetic, he completely stopped during his run up and then fired his penalty to Petr Cech’s right at a saveable height. Thankfully for Ronaldo Man United won and his fantastic form was amply rewarded, but oh how close it came to being a disaster…

RIGHT WING- Lionel Messi

Somehow, the two best players of the 20 year period we are looking at today have made it into this XI, which just shows that penalties really aren’t easy!

Lionel Messi’s miss came in the 2016 Centenario Copa America final, and he completely blazed his effort over the bar much to the surprise of everyone watching. Argentina lost the shootout and Chile were crowned champions meaning Messi still has no international honours to his name.

Messi has often carried Argentina’s hopes solely on his shoulders, but the fact that this miss may have cost them the Copa America will surely still be on his mind.

STRIKER- David Trezeguet

In terms of missing penalties in major finals during the 20th century, David Trezeguet is the one person you’d point to as having missed in the worst moments…

He was the only person to miss in the 2006 World Cup final shootout and he missed the first penalty of the 2003 Champions League final for Juventus! Suffice to say his sides lost both finals.

His effort in 2003 was tame and easily kept out by Dida, but his effort in 2006 was better but it hit the crossbar and didn’t go over the line. The miss in 2006 will surely haunt him more as who knows what the result would have been had be scored…

BONUS PLAYER: Me

Wow, a 12th player in an XI! But I have also missed a penalty in a major final, well the Guildford County School Winter House Sports Football final 2015…

I’ll set the scene for you, the score was 0-0 after normal time, and I had come on midway through Extra Time, I didn’t make much of an impact but I was on the pitch as we went into the penalty shootout.

Just like John Terry all I had to do was score and my house would win. It didn’t help that my best friend was in goal as he was in my ear as I stepped up to take it. Like Courtois, Alves, and Messi, I fired my effort way over the bar, yes I have compared myself to those players…

Anyway, the shootout then went to sudden death and two penalties later we had lost, from the brink of victory we had been defeated. Sorry to those reading that were on my team, but I can now say I’ve been included in an XI with Ronaldo and Messi!

That’s all for today!

Who would you have included?

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