The penalty shoot-out tests the nerves of everyone who participates. Fans are exposed to the highest levels of tension and confidence from players is vital in winning any penalties.
At the 2016 European Championships in France, Italy and Germany played each other in the quarter-finals. The match went to a penalty shootout after it ended 1-1 after extra time. The two teams led their group and comfortably won their second round matches. Germany beat Slovakia 3-0, while Italy beat Spain 2-0.
After Insignia and Toni Kroos switched the first penalty shootout from the penalty shootout, Simone Zaza advanced to take the second kick for Italy.
Zaza’s race started at the edge of the penalty area, just six yards from the ball. This would usually only require the player to take a few steps before hitting the ball, but the Italian made an incredible fifteen small steps before shooting the ball into the goal.
Zaza sent Manuel Neuer the wrong way, but his kick went high over the bar. His odd career made him look so ridiculous and prompted him to post numerous spoofing videos and memes on social media.
There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Simone Zaza’s antics leaned towards arrogance and backfired in the biggest stage as Germany won the penalty shootout 6-5 and advanced to the semi-finals. They lost 2-0 to hosts France. Their victory over Italy was their sixth successive penalty shootout victory, as their only defeat came to Czechoslovakia in the 1976 European Championship final.
Simone Zaza made a public apology to the people of Italy after the match although it was a bit unfair as there were six more mistakes in the penalty shootout. He will forever be remembered for his silly lead over a missed penalty when his playing days are over.
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