Twelve yards doesn’t sound like a great distance. It is just 36 feet, or 11 metres.

You would think then that a professional footballer would be able to hit a target 8 feet high and eight yards wide.

Ah, but alas. So many have failed to do so down the years, particularly the England team, who have been defeated on penalties in every major cup competition since 1989, the most recent gut-wrenching defeats coming to Italy at last summer’s European Championships and Team Great Britain’s defeat to South Korea at the 2012 Olympic Games.

We also saw a penalty miss at the weekend in Arsenal’s game against Champions Manchester City.

Sometimes a penalty miss can be put down to an excellent save by a goalkeeper in top form, displaying remarkable agility and reflexes to claw the ball out and save his side. Other times it can be put down to bad luck – the width of the bar or post being the fine line between success and abject failure.

And of course, occasionally, a penalty miss can simply by put down to human error, a slip, imbalance, loss of concentration, lack of confidence, too much confidence and showboating that has just gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Here, WhatCulture! examines the Top 10 Worst Ever Penalty Misses.

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This article was first posted on January 16, 2013