10 Most Famous World Cup Penalty Misses

Under all that pressure, even the best players can start to crack.

Peter Beardsley Chris Waddle Paul Gascoigne Enfgland
Ross Kinnaird/EMPICS Sport

Taking a penalty at a World Cup has got to be one of the most high pressure situations any footballer can ever have to face. The eyes of everyone in the stadium and millions more watching at home are all on you as you place the ball on the spot, take a few steps back, and figure out how exactly you plan on getting it past the keeper and into the back of the net.

If you happen to be German, it probably isn't such a big deal as they actually have a 100% success rate in World Cup penalty shootouts, but for everyone else, it must be an unimaginably nerve-wracking experience. If you score, you're a hero. If you miss, you might never live it down (though you may have a future in Pizza Hut commercials).

Whether it's during a penalty shootout or regular time, taking a World Cup penalty means that the hopes of an entire nation of fans are resting squarely on your shoulders. No human being is designed to deal with that much pressure, and it's only natural that players can sometimes crack, leading to some misses that will never be forgotten.

10. Diana Ross (1994)

The Americans might not know a whole lot about 'soccer', but they sure know how to organise a party. The opening ceremony of the 1994 World Cup was a bombastic spectacle, complete with musical numbers, hundreds of performers, and a whole lot of flags.

Then, there was Diana Ross. The "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" singer gave a great musical performance, but her football skills left a lot to be desired. As part of a scheduled stunt, Ross was supposed to run through a crowd of performers and blast a penalty into a goal that had been designed to split in half from the 'force' of the vocalist's strike.

Ross took a rather cocky run-up, fooling the keeper with a couple of Balotelli-esque feints before scuffing her shot wide of the mark. To his credit, the keeper guessed right and made a smart dive to make the penalty look a little less ridiculous, but it was an embarrassing scene for all concerned and is now regarded as the single most memorable moment from the 1994 opening ceremony.

In this post: 
Chris Waddle
Posted On: 

Mike Pedley hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.