Euro 2024: Penalty shootouts, from Panenka to England's record (2024)

How to take a European Championship shootout penalty

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Euro 2024: Penalty shootouts, from Panenka to England's record (1)

Emlyn Begley

BBC Sport journalist

As Euro 2024 shifts gears from the group stage to knockout games, it is time to start thinking about the dreaded penalty shootout.

There were 22 shootouts in the European Championship before 2024 - 232 kicks taken and 178 scored, including maybe the most influential penalty ever.

BBC Sport and Opta have scoured the data from every kick up to the Euro 2020 final, going back to the first shootout in 1976.

Going centrally is a risk... unless you're Panenka

The very first European Championship penalty shootout coined a style of spot-kick all fans will be aware of - the Panenka.

Czechoslovakia's Antonin Panenka, taking the kick to decide the 1976 final against West Germany, waited for Sepp Maier to dive before chipping the ball down the middle to clinch the trophy.

His name is still synonymous with that type of kick today.

But going down the middle is generally less effective than shooting left.

Some 82% of penalties put to the left go in, compared to 73% on the right and 72% in the middle.

The main danger of going central is going too high.

Only 4% of penalties down the middle are saved, compared to 16% either side, but chances of hitting the woodwork (7% v 2%) or missing the target entirely (17% v 4%) are sky high - much like Dani Olmo's kick for Spain against Italy in the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

The most prolific position might surprise you...

Only one position on the pitch can boast a 100% success rate when it comes to taking spot-kicks in Euros penalty shootouts - goalkeepers.

Admittedly the sample size is one kick. Portugal's Ricardo beat England's David James from the spot for the decisive goal in the Euro 2004 quarter-final.

"Being a member of the goalkeepers' union, I'm a bit annoyed about him," said James afterwards.

"After pulling off a great save he scored probably the best penalty of the day."

Defenders and forwards have practically the same success rate from the spot, approximately 79%, with 75% of penalties by midfielders finding the net.

The least successful country won't surprise you...

England have the worst shootout record – with one win out of five and a 69% conversion rate.

That is excluding teams who have only taken part in one European Championship penalty shootout.

It all started off so well for England with a shootout win over Spain in the Euro 96 quarter-finals, but they lost on penalties to Germany in the next round.

Defeats by Portugal (2004) and Italy (2012) followed, before the most heartbreaking one – the Euro 2020 final defeat by the Azzurri.

Spain and Italy have won the most shootouts – four – but have also taken part in the most - six and seven respectively.

The kings are the Czechs, though, with three wins out of three including Czechoslovakia – and all 20 kicks converted.

Turkey are the only other team with a 100% success rate of wins and goals – that stems from just the one shootout though.

Sweden and Croatia both lost their only one, with the Croats only netting one penalty.

The ultimate pressure penalty - is it the fourth?

Success rates for each kick in the shootout do not differ hugely - expect when it comes to the fourth round of penalties.

This is where it often goes wrong.

Between 80% and 82% of kicks one, two, three and five for each team go in - but kick four lags behind with a paltry 63% finding the net.

The pressure is usually ramping up, and the eighth overall kick in Euros shootouts - the second shot of the fourth round - only finds the net 48% of the time.

Sudden-death accuracy shows the exact same overall result as the regular five rounds of penalties - a 77% conversion rate.

And does it matter if you go first? Not really - 11 of the 22 shootouts have been won by the team taking the first penalty.

The preferred foot of a player makes no obvious difference to their prospect - left and right both score 77% of their penalties.

Bringing on a player for penalties never works

There have been four occasions where a player has come on in the last two minutes of extra time and taken a penalty - and all four have missed in the shootout.

Italy's Simone Zaza was the first, missing the target against Germany in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.

The next three were all at Euro 2020.

Rodri came on for Spain against Switzerland in the quarter-finals and saw his penalty saved.

England brought on Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford in the final minute of the final against Italy and neither scored. Rashford hit the post and Sancho's kick was saved.

Who are England's best penalty takers?

England players' penalty records (club and country)

Includes spot-kicks in open play and shootouts

Excludes players who have never taken a penalty

Source: Opta

Euro 2024: Penalty shootouts, from Panenka to England's record (2)

A lot of English readers might be wondering how the Three Lions would fare if they needed a shootout in the knockout stages again.

It is fair to say the current England squad present a mixed bag when it comes to penalty success.

Including every penalty taken for club or country, during a game or in a shootout, Harry Kane has by far the most experience - with 86 kicks taken and 76 scored - an 88% success rate.

Ivan Toney, who could well be someone who comes on for a shootout, has netted 37 of his 40 (93%).

Bukayo Saka is next with 13 from 15 (87%) - although one of his two misses was in the Euro 2020 final.

Eleven of the squad have a 100% record from the spot, including Cole Palmer - who has netted 11 from 11.

The worst records fall to Ollie Watkins (six goals from 11 kicks, 55%), Kieran Trippier (three from six, 50%) and Declan Rice (two from four, 50%).

Five of the squad have never taken a spot-kick.

As for who should be in goal for penalties, the data says it should be Dean Henderson without any doubt.

Henderson has saved seven of his 18 penalties faced in senior football (39%), while Jordan Pickford has saved six out of 57 (11%) and Aaron Ramsdale's record is one save from 21 (5%).

Related Topics

  • UEFA Euro 2024
  • Football
Euro 2024: Penalty shootouts, from Panenka to England's record (2024)
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