The World Cup that commenced from the 14th of June 2018 in Russia has been a witness to numerous matches and manoeuvres that have defied the status quo of tournament favourites.  With the matches being nerve-racking there are bound to be moments which have fans go in a tizzy and stay glued to the television sets. The ardent football fans would testify that there is nothing more engaging than a penalty shot. That moment when there is only a distance of 12 yards and a goalkeeper between the striker and glory! With such a high-octane situation and pressure running high, it is more often about either hero-worship when you convert a penalty, or you are to be remembered for not all heroic reasons.

Compiled below is a list of the most iconic penalty misses of all times which has etched these players, despite their magic and greatness on the field, in the minds of football fans all over the world:

Cristiano Ronaldo:

While the social media and Madrid fans have never backed down from reminding the world how much better a player CR7 is than his beloved Argentinian rival, Ronaldo did miss an all crucial penalty against Iran on 25th of June 2018. The Portuguese captain has a success rate of 50% on penalties in major tournaments and the match last night saw a heated argument followed by a yellow card for the high-profile player. And while the trolling has already begun, he is not alone in the illustrious list of the wizards of the game who have missed their shot at glory.

Lionel Messi:

The World Cup of 2018 will be remembered for the ‘Messi’ affair that was the match between Argentina and Iceland. The missing of the penalty has proved quite costly for the Argentinian side as they find themselves in the bottom of the points tally of group D. The miss by the legend enabled the Nordic team to emerge as the underdogs who took over clear favourites.

Franco Baresi:

Italy vs Brazil 1994 match is remembered for a lot of missed shots at glory. But none disappointed more than the penalty missed by Franco Baresi who perhaps was the best defender of his generation and had missed most of the tournament due to injuries only to return to the final to play exceptionally well and yet lose his composure at the penalty shoot.

Roberto Baggio:

In a match that saw Franco Baresi miss, the pressure on Roberto Baggio was enormous since he had had a good run and inevitably at the penalty shootout, the aspirations of Italy rested on his shoulders. However, Baggio missed the deciding penalty and despite his genius would be remembered by future generations for this miss.


Brazil remains the tournament favourite. However, the 1986 team line-up is till date considered to be the best line-up to have not won the World Cup. With geniuses like Zico and Socrates in the midfield, the match against France in the quarterfinals was undoubtedly the most unexpected when it went to penalties after 1-1. With a memorable penalty against Poland from the previous match riding on his shoulders, Socrates missing the shot was both devastating and appalling for Brazil and fans worldwide.


The 1986 match against France remains etched in the minds of Brazilians as two of Brazil’s greatest players missed the penalty shots. With the score at 1-1, it was expected that with Zico taking the penalty, Brazil would score and the scoreboard would read 2-1. However, owing to the crucial miss, the match went to the penalty shoot-out where Brazil lost in spite of Zico scoring in the shoot-out.

Michel Platini:

The 1986 match between Brazil and France was destined to make the gods of the field mortal at the penalty shoot-out. While Brazil’s genius players like Zico and Socrates missed, Michel Platini, who was at that time considered by many to be even better than Maradona, had scored for France in the regulation time, missed the penalty shot and while France went on to win the match, he would be remembered for joining his opponents in the ranks of memorable penalty fails.

Asamoah Gyan:

The quarterfinal between Uruguay and Ghana in 2010 is memorable since it established Luis Suarez as a hero in the minds of the people. But this match also bore the devastation of Ghana which missed its chance to be the first African nation to be in the semi-finals. Following a hand save from Suarez which rewarded Ghana its penalty in the 120th minute after a score of 1-1, Asamoah Gyan missed; post which the match went to a shootout and Uruguay won with Ghana never recovering from Gyan’s miss.

Steven Gerrard:

In England’s match against Portugal in 2006, Steven Gerrard was meant to be the talisman that broke the poor luck shadowing England at the penalty shootouts at the World Cups. A talented player who was fast making a mark for slotting penalties with an absolute ease, no one expected Gerrard to miss. Which he unfortunately did!

David Trezeguet:

A 2006 World Cup final that was to be played out between France and Italy and the fate of the two nations hung on the penalty shoot-out after either nation failed to score a winner. With the shoot-out score hanging at a precarious 2-1, the pressure of levelling it was on Trezeguet who missed and while the rest of the shots were converted to goals and Italy went on to claim the title, Trezeguet went down in history as a failed penalty shot!

The above list just went on to show how the greatest also missed shots at glory and immortality at a game which strikes passion in the heart of generations!  To more nerve-wracking matches lying ahead; Happy watching World Cup 2018 folks!