Missed Penalty: The story behind lost opportunities

Penalty. A term, that can ruffle the feathers of even the calmest of beings.  A term, that in any walk of life, shocks and triggers signals of doom and punishment for some, and  hope  or satisfaction for  others.. Football, is no exception.

John Terry misses a penalty 21/5/2008

Football is a sport which appears to be simple  and has a lot of similarities with life. There  are friends, there  are opponents, there  are obstacles, there  is injustice (sometimes the unbelievable kinds), there are rough edges, there is, joy and there is sorrow. There is a goal to reach, which some achieve, some don’t.  And like in life, if you break rules, you have to pay for it. The extent of punishment depends on the extent of wrong-doing. There are direct and indirect free-kicks, but if you break the law inside the secured 18-yard zone, you pay the ultimate price — a penalty.

This is one act inside the football field that is unique in nature. The team that is awarded the penalty, beams with  hope that they will score the goal. The team that has conceded the penalty, often tries to justify that the referee has made a mistake. After they realize their words are falling into deaf ears, they turn their attention to the goalkeeper, who  at that moment is their only savior, on the ground. Spectators wait with bated breath and some even hold it till the shot is taken!

We, as football lovers, have experienced many many moments like this. Taking penalty is an art, and not everybody can master it. It is more about reading the mind and understanding the psychology of the taker/keeper than physical abilities. Within that one second, you have to go inside the head of the taker/keeper, and act accordingly. There have been some great penalty takers this game has seen. Somehow, it is expected that the taker will beat the keeper from 12 yards. The keeper is hailed as a hero if he saves the shot. But the player who misses it is sometimes left scarred for life. We, at Goalden Times,  bring you a series where we look at the more unfortunate events of missed penalties (and their aftermath??). Here is a dekko at where stalwarts of the game, nervous newcomers, dead-ball maestros failed to convert the spot-kick and plunged their team and supporters into sorrow and disbelief. Once in every two weeks, we will highlight one key penalty that has been missed and will discuss the match situation, player, the events leading to the penalty and eventually the miss. So hold your breath,watch out for this column,it will be as exciting as the penalty ! Enjoy the ride with Subhashis Biswas.