The Panenka

Perhaps one of the cheekiest maneuvers in football is a method of taking spot kicks called the Panenka. Namesake of creator Antonin Panenka, the Panenka involves approaching the ball as if one is going to strike it with full force and then easing up at the last second and lofting the ball, usually down the middle of the goal past a helpless goalkeeper who has already committed to a side.

Czechoslovakian Antonin Panenka was born in 1948 and spent most of his career playing domestically for Bohemians Praha, where he scored 76 goals in 230 total appearances. Panenka was known more as a playmaker than a goal scorer, though, and in the 1976 European Championship, his name would be forever immortalized.

With the score level at 2-2 in the final between West Germany and Czechoslovakia, spectators were treated to the first ever penalty shootout in Euro finals history. Czechoslovakia led 4-3, and West Germany had just missed. Up stepped Antonin Panenka with a chance to win it for his country. What took place was historic to say the least.

Now, Panenka may not have been the first to ever attempt such a penalty, but the sheer magnitude of the situation put him on a pedestal. We have still never seen anything quite like it. Below you’ll find Antonin Panenka’s famous penalty as well as some of the best Panenka-esque goals in the history of the game.



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