The 5 Worst Penalty Misses In World Cup History

The 5 Worst Penalty Misses In World Cup History

Ireland has experienced its fair share of highs and lows from the penalty spot at World Cups.

While Packie Bonner and David O'Leary were the heroes in that Second Round shootout victory over Romania at Italia '90, 12 years later the shoe was on the other foot as Mick McCarthy's team bowed out to Spain at the very same stage.

Matt Holland, Kevin Kilbane, and David Connolly suffered the misfortune of missing from 12 yards that day, but it could have been a lot worse - as these five terrible World Cup misses show.

5. Asamoah Gyan


In 2010, Asamoah Gyan had the chance to make history with Ghana. Drawing 1-1 with Uruguay deep into extra time of their quarter-final clash in South Africa, a goalline handball from Luis Suarez gifted the Black Stars a penalty with what would be the last kick of the game.

Score and Ghana would become the first African team to reach the last-four of a World Cup finals. But Gyan - who had already bagged two goals from two spot-kicks at the tournament - crashed his effort against the bar and out for a goal kick. Though he went on to score in the resulting shootout, Ghana lost 4-2 on spot kicks. The wait for an African semi-finalist goes on.

4. Michel Platini 


In 1984, Michel Platini cemented his status as one of the best players in the world with some virtuoso showings at that year's European Championship, netting nine goals in five games to help France lift the trophy on home soil.

Les Bleus were among the favourites at the World Cup in Mexico two years later, but Platini was a shadow of his former self. Suffering from a groin injury and playing under injection, the Frenchman still bagged two goals but is better remembered for this infamous penalty against Brazil in the quarter-finals of the competition. Though France advanced to the semis, Platini's woeful kick remains as arguably the most unfortunate chapter in his football legacy. Well, as a player at least.

3. Diana Ross 


It may not have technically counted for anything. It may not have even been a proper penalty. It is, however, among the most feeble attempts ever witnessed.

Ross, to her credit, did a fine job of geeing up the watching crowd ahead of the 1994 World Cup curtain raiser/snoozefest between Germany and Bolivia at Chicago's Soldier Field. Her performance was supposed to climax with Ross scoring a penalty. It didn't quite go to plan though, with Ross sending her effort badly wide of the mark in a spooky premonition of the '94 final to come.

2. Chris Waddle


England probably would have gone out anyway, given that Stuart Pearce had already missed and Peter Shilton seemed incapable of making a penalty save, but Chris Waddle's wild effort in the 1990 semi-final shootout defeat to West Germany is still difficult to watch.

As high and wide a penalty attempt as you are likely to find, it's the kind of miss that could have ended the career of a lesser player. Waddle, to his credit, bounced back."There were two ways to react; basically, you can do a Lord Lucan and disappear or stick your chest out and prove to everybody you're a good footballer," he said.

Waddle went on to win the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award in 1993, during a spell in Marseille that has seen the midfielder become something of a cult hero among fans of L'OM.

1. Roberto Baggio


Possibly the cruelest and most infamous penalty miss of all-time, Roberto Baggio had been the standout star of Italy's march to the 1994 World Cup final but it was his blasted effort that ultimately handed victory to Brazil.

Playing with an ankle injury and already trailing Brazil in the shootout following misses from Franco Baresi and Daniele Massaro, the Azzurri probably would have lost regardless of Baggio's miss. But the fact that Baggio went from hero to villain at a World Cup he lit up, makes this all the more painful.

"I always dreamed of playing in a World Cup final since I was a little boy, but I never thought it could end like that," Baggio later reflected. "I still find it hard to accept what happened that day. However, it has helped me to stay humble because life is a continued challenge and you can't beat yourself up."