Agüero and Messi imitate Sergio Ramos
It's now widely known in football parlance as a 'Panenka'-style penalty after the famous Czechoslovakia international stunned the world in the final of the 1976 European Championships. The final pitted the Czechs against West Germany and the game was tied after extra time and went to penalty kicks. Uli Hoeness stepped up to take the fifth kick for the German side with a 100% conversion rate for both sides up to that point but the Bayern player blazed the ball over the bar. Up stepped Bohemians Prague player Antonin Panenka with top-class keeper Sepp Maier in the German goal. The Prague born player dinked the ball into the net with Maier committed and the rest, as they say is history...
There is a strange element of luck in converting a penalty of this nature with a goal also carrying a degree of humiliation for the goalkeeper with many keepers complaining of a 'lack of respect' in converting spot kicks with this method. I remember well a Real Madrid Castilla play-off game against Pontevedra where Portillo struck a 'Panenka' and the goal caused so much furore that the fallout saw a tense and edgy second leg. Many subsequently felt that Castilla lost the possibility to secure promotion as the Portillo goal created such indignation amongst the opposition that it spurred them on to win the tie. It was shortly after this time that Sergio Ramos bagged the first of his many 'Panenka' goals in Euro 2012 against Portugal with the effort coming soon after his spot kick in the Champions League for Madrid against Bayern Munich where his penalty blazed over the bar into row Z.
Many put the goal against Portugal down to 'just another one of those Sergio Ramos eccentricities' which conveyed the player's inhibitions. The Real Madrid player however quite clearly enjoyed the style of penalty and at least one in three of the kicks undertaken by the Camas born defender are now executed using the 'Panenka' method. One particular goal against formal club Sevilla saw him ruffling the feathers of the home support who say this style of penalty as an ignominy. At the end of the day, it's a just another particular style of shooting from 12 yards and this week in the Champions League we've seen both Kun Agüero and Leo Messi deliver spot kicks using this technique which points to this style now becoming more of a regular feature in the modern game. Until recently taking a penalty using the 'Panenka' method was viewed as brave and daring but thanks in large to Sergio Ramos it's just another style of striking the ball from the spot.