Memorable Penalty Shootouts in UEFA EURO History in Photos

Penalty shootouts often bring the most dramatic moments in football, and the UEFA European Championship has had its fair share of unforgettable showdowns. Here’s a look at some of the most significant penalty shootouts in the history of the tournament in chronological order.

EURO 1976 Final: Czechoslovakia v West Germany

The 1976 final pitted Czechoslovakia against West Germany and culminated in one of the most iconic moments in football history. Antonin Panenka introduced the world to his audacious "Panenka" penalty, a cheeky spot-kick down the middle that won the trophy for Czechoslovakia. This penalty was what became the basis of his philosophy: Delaying the kick and hitting it lightly, anticipating that a goalkeeper diving into the corner of the goal would not be able to return to the centre by leaping into the air. 

Antoni Panenka scores his historic penalty EURO 1976

IMAGO / Colorsport |  Antoni Panenka scores his historic penalty in the final of EURO 1976, and Czechoslovakia become champions.

Antonin Panenka celebrates after scoring the penalty EURO 1976

IMAGO / Horstmüller |  Antonin Panenka celebrates after scoring the penalty to convert the decisive 11 points for Czechoslovakia at EURO 1976.

 

EURO 1992 Semifinal: Netherlands v Denmark

In the 1992 semi-finals, Denmark faced the Netherlands. Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel played a pivotal role, saving a decisive penalty from the Netherlands' top scorer Marco van Basten. Denmark's victory not only propelled them into the final but also set them on a path to win the tournament, marking them as one of the biggest surprise winners in football history after entering the tournament as emergency replacements for Yugoslavia.

Marco van Basten misses against goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel EURO 1992IMAGO / Horstmüller | Marco van Basten misses against goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel in the penalty shootout round EURO 1992 Semi-final.

Denmark team celebrates their EURO 1992 victoryIMAGO / Buzzi | Denmark team celebrates their EURO 1992 victory

 

EURO 1996 Semifinal: England v Germany

The 1996 semi-final between England and Germany was particularly poignant as it was played in England and gave the hosts a unique opportunity to reach the final on home soil. However, the penalty shoot-out ended in heartbreak for England as Gareth Southgate missed the decisive penalty. The miss became a legend in European Championship history.

Goalkeeper Andreas Köpke, Germany, saves in the penalty shootout EURO 1996IMAGO / WEREK | Goalkeeper Andreas Köpke, Germany, saves in the penalty shootout against Gareth Southgate, England, in the Semifinal of the EURO 1996.

 Goalkeeper Andreas Köpke, Germany, celebrates after saving a penalty from Gareth Southgate, England. EURO 1996

IMAGO / WEREK | Goalkeeper Andreas Köpke, Germany, celebrates after saving a penalty from Gareth Southgate, England. EURO 1996

 

EURO 2012 Semifinal: Portugal v Spain

The EURO2012 semi-final saw an exciting Iberian derby between Portugal and Spain. The two countries' geographical proximity added an extra spice to the match. Spain beat Portugal after Cesc Fabregas sealed the victory over their neighbouring country from the penalty spot. Spain went through to the final, where they were crowned champions, adding yet another victory and completing a historic three-peat after already winning EURO 2008 and the FIFA World Cup in 2010. 

Cesc Fabregas from Spain scores the goal at the penalty shoot-out EURO 2012

IMAGO / Sven Simon | The decisive penalty: Cesc Fabregas from Spain scores the goal to make it 4-2 after a penalty shoot-out against goalkeeper Rui Patricio from Portugal. EURO 2012

 Celebration of Cesc Fabregas and Iker Casillas from Spain after a penalty shoot-out in the semifinal, EURO 2012

IMAGO / GEPA pictures | Celebration of Cesc Fabregas and Iker Casillas from Spain after a penalty shoot-out in the semifinal, EURO 2012.

 

EURO 2016 Quarterfinal: Germany v Italy

Another epic clash took place in the 2016 quarter-finals when Germany faced Italy. The match went to an exhaustive 18-penalty shootout, one of the longest and most harrowing in European Championship history. Simone Zaza's infamous miss for Italy, characterised by his peculiar running, became a highlight of this match.

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon concedes a goal to Germany in the penalty shoot-out series in their EURO2016

IMAGO / ITAR-TASS | Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon concedes a goal to Germany in the penalty shoot-out series in their EURO2016 quarter-final match at the Stade de Bordeaux.

Thomas Müller, Benedikt Höwedes celebrates after penalty shootout, quarter-final EURO 2016.

IMAGO / Sven Simon | Thomas Müller, Benedikt Höwedes celebrates after a penalty shootout, quarter-final EURO 2016.

 

EURO 2020 Final: Italy v England (Played in 2021)

The most recent penalty shoot-out came in the 2020 Final between Italy and England. Once again, the match was played on English soil, which raised the stakes for the home team. However, the penalty shootout ended in despair for England, with misses from three young players, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka. The match was marred by racist insults directed at the players, prompting widespread condemnation and a call for stronger action against racism in sport.

Italy’s Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saves a penalty from England during the penalty shootout in the EURO 2020

IMAGO / PA Images | Italy’s Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saves a penalty from England during the penalty shootout in the EURO 2020 Final at Wembley Stadium, London.

Marcus Rashford stands dejected after missing from the penalty spot during the UEFA EURO 2020 FinalIMAGO / PA Images / Mike Egerton | Marcus Rashford stands dejected after missing from the penalty spot during the UEFA EURO 2020 Final at Wembley Stadium, London.

 

These penalty shootouts not only highlight the intense pressure and drama of football at the highest level but also reflect the emotional highs and lows of the sport. Each event has left a lasting impression on the players, fans, and the history of the UEFA European Championship, illustrating that sometimes the game's most thrilling moments come from the spot.

 

 

 

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