As the FIFA World Cup action continues in Qatar, we take a look at the teams with the best and worst all-time World Cup penalty kicks.
Penalties were first introduced for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina but went into practice four years later at the 1982 tournament in Spain. Before that, knockout matches tied after extra time went to a replay.
The 22 World Cups have played host to some exciting penalty kicks and shootouts over the years, and here are some of the very best and the worst in the tournament’s history:
A few of the best World Cup penalty kicks
France 5-3 Brazil (1986)
France and Brazil played out a captivating quarter-final in Mexico that Brazilian icon Pele dubbed “the match of the century”
The matchup saw both Brazilian Socrates and French Michel Platini miss from the spot. France ended up eliminating Brazil from the tournament, playing a 1-1 draw through regulation time and two overtime periods before outscoring Brazil on penalty kicks, 4-3.
West Germany 4-3 England (1990)
England surpassed all expectations at Italia ‘90 before the Germans ground out a tie that took the matchup to penalties.
While the Three Lions were arguably superior, the vital penalty Chris Waddle missed sent the English team home.
4 July 1990. England drew 1-1 with West Germany, but were beaten 4-3 on penalties, in the World Cup Semi-Final in Turin, Italy. At the time, It was the furthest stage any England team had reached in any World Cup held outside England. It was equalled by the England team in 2018. pic.twitter.com/JnLUtvYivf
— Prof. Frank McDonough (@FXMC1957) July 4, 2022
Related: Qatar 2022 World Cup: How long is the overtime in a soccer game?
Brazil 3-2 Italy, USA 1994
Over 94,000 fans in the U.S. packed Pasadena’s Rose Bowl stadium for the 1994 World Cup Finals. The game between Brazil and Italy seemed to be going in the same direction as their 1970 final when South Americans beat the Italians.
Brazil took lead in the first half and Italy broke through to reach a tie in the second half.
The enthralling shootout began with misses from both teams before Brazil lifted the Jules Rimet trophy for the fourth time after Roberto Baggio missed the decisive penalty for Italy.
A few of the worst World Cup penalty kicks
Japan vs Croatia 3-1, Qatar 2022
The Japanese were particularly impressive against the Spanish and the Germans in the group stage at Qatar World Cup, but they seemed to have lost their edge at the end of the game against Croatia.
With a 1-1 tie even after overtime, the two teams proceeded to penalty shootouts. Only one of Japan’s four penalties went in, however, with Croatian goalkeeper Dominic Livakovic saving three from 12 yards.
That’s the worst record that any team has ever had at a World Cup.
Asamoah Gyan, Ghana vs Uruguay, South Africa 2010
With the Ghana team’s quarter-final against Uruguay tied at 1-1, the African stars were awarded a penalty in the last few seconds when Uruguay’s Luis Suarez shockingly played goalkeeper. Suarez blocked Gyan’s ball from entering the goal with his hands.
Given another opportunity to score a goal, Gyan knew if he scored a goal, Ghana would become the first African team in history to make it to a semi-final of the World Cup.
Sadly for Gyan and his team, the ball banged off the crossbar and over the top in the last kick of normal time.
Fortunately for Gyan at least, he was able to score in the penalty shoot-out that settled the game afterward. But that didn’t help Ghana make it through.