For the neutral, penalties are unmatched fun. For everyone else? Nightmare.
Not a lot is expected of the goalkeeper in a spot kick, but in a penalty shootout, one save can prove to be the decider. Some goalkeepers thrive on the rare call of a shootout, especially those who might not often play and instead are saved for the deadlock.
90min has picked out 30 of the best performances from goalkeepers in games that have gone right down to the wire for spot kicks.
Admittedly, the penalties in this quarter final between Juventus and Ajax were nothing short of dreadful.
Still, someone’s got to save them. Zoff stepped up for Juve, saving two Ajax penalties to ensure his side progressed with a 3-0 score from spot kicks. We’ll put the quality down to the pitch.
Brazil’s Taffarel only made one save as Italy made a complete mess of their penalties in the World Cup final of all moments, but it was crucial.
The Italians would miss twice, but Taffarel saved one in between, diving to his left to keep out an effort from Daniele Massaro. What came after? World champions.
As we said, it only takes one save to make the difference. Patricio proved that in the Euro 2016 quarter final.
Denying Jakub Błaszczykowski was the big moment as it sent Portugal into the last four of the competition. Just the one save and he didn’t get too near any others, but what does that matter?
After a year’s sabbatical with Paris Saint-Germain, Buffon returned to Juventus in 2019 and kicked off his summer by rolling back the years.
In a friendly against Inter, Buffon saved three penalties which was key in Juventus winning the game. One for the scrapbook.
Having been bamboozled by a Jorginho penalty in extra time to level the game at 2-2, Adrian came good as the 2019 Super Cup went to penalties.
With Chelsea set to take the shootout to sudden death, the stand-in Spaniard pulled out a strong save with his feet to deny Tammy Abraham and win the game for Liverpool at 5-4.
Leicester’s substitute goalkeeper came on against Arsenal as Tim Flowers suffered an injury at the end of the game, with a place in the fifth round hanging in the balance.
The French goalkeeper stepped up, however, saving two penalties from Lee Dixon and Gilles Grimandi to send the Foxes through despite the goalkeeper change.
Now known as the Europa League, a Manchester City side that hadn’t long been in the money with new ownership made hard work of their passage into the quarter final.
Having blown the lead and seen the game go to penalties, Mark Hughes’ side were saved by some heroics from Given in goal, saving two Aalborg penalties which sent them through.
Having already saved a spot kick in normal time, Cech was feeling good in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich when it went to penalties.
With Juan Mata missing a penalty, Chelsea needed a save. Cech came up good to deny Ivica Olic to bring things back in. A Bastian Schweinsteiger miss and Didier Drogba goal then brought it home.
Chelsea were on the other side of the shootout four years earlier. With penalties at sudden death, John Terry had missed to give Manchester United a golden opportunity.
Van der Sar – who had already enjoyed a fine match – saved an effort from Nicolas Anelka down to his right despite pointing left, winning United their third Champions League.
Called in for the final due to injuries, veteran Ivorian stopper Barry had to face penalties if his nation wanted the silverware.
Barry saved Ghana’s third penalty, and when things went to sudden death, he saved from fellow goalkeeper Brimah Razak before scoring himself to secure the Africa Cup of Nations.
The 1986 European Cup final saw some rather poor penalties when the game went to the shootout, but also some heroics from Steaua Bucharest goalkeeper Duckadam.
Barcelona didn’t score a penalty, with Duckadam saving all four as Steaua won the European Cup against the odds.
The world was baffled in 2014 when Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal swapped his goalkeepers in the dying minutes of extra time ahead of an impending penalty shootout against Costa Rica.
Suddenly, there was method to the madness. Krul had clearly been the penalties man in the camp and translated it when he needed to, saving two attempts to send the Dutch into the semi-final. Tactical genius.
Appearing at their first World Cup finals, Ireland were making seriously hard work of their time at the tournament while loving every second.
The grind continued in the round of 16, taking Romania to penalties following a 0-0 draw. After David O’Leary scored Ireland’s fifth, Bonner stepped up and saved an effort from Daniel Timofte to keep the dream alive and send them to the quarter final.
An unusual struggle for an always dominant Bayern Munich, a tough test from Bayer Leverkusen in the 2014/15 quarter final saw a goalless draw go to penalties.
Die Roten were in form and bagged all five, while Neuer got a hand to Leverkusen’s opening penalty. That save was crucial as they scored their next four, but couldn’t then advance. Clutch.
A bonkers third place play-off that ended 2-2 was topped off with penalties, making for a great game for neutrals.
Buffon pulled out a fine save with the Italians 3-2 up on spot kicks, diving low to his right to ensure third place with relative ease.
Manchester City had a fine cup competitions goalkeeper in Caballero throughout the 2010s. Better yet, he loved penalties.
In City’s fifth appearance in the competition’s final, they were prepared for spot kicks against Liverpool following a 1-1 draw. Caballero made three consecutive saves to single-handedly bring the trophy to City at Wembley.
A thrilling semi-final between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid finishing up with a penalty shootout. Prime Gazprom.
Better yet, Neuer showed his class once more, stepping up and saving Real’s first two penalties from Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, as Bayern advanced to the final. The German is immense.
West Germany 3-3 France after 120 minutes, at the semi-final of the World Cup.
Regarded as one of the greatest games ever, it was time for heroes. Step forward Schumacher, who saved his nation’s bacon by blocking Didier Six’s strike and then keeping out Maxime Bossis to see West Germany into the final.
A modern entry, Switzerland dumping France out of Euro 2020 was the game that ruined everyone’s predictions and bet slips.
A dramatic equaliser from the Swiss sent the game to extra time where penalties were inevitable with scores locked at 3-3. Sommer thrived on it, fabulously saving a Kylian Mbappe penalty that had to go in for France.
A rather rogue entry, but one fully deserving of its place.
Irish goalkeeper Kelly saved four out of four penalties for Sligo Rovers in the final of the 2010 FAI Cup to ensure his side beat Shamrock Rovers for the trophy. A penalty icon, he repeated similar heroics from the bench a year later, saving two to retain the trophy.
One step away from a final with Brazil, Argentina had to overcome a penalty shootout against Colombia in the semi-final.
Fresh off the back of a fine season with Aston Villa, Martinez continued to show his qualities and saved three penalties to hand the Argentines a route into the final. Heroic stuff.
Another Van der Sar masterclass against Chelsea, the Dutchman didn’t even give them a sniff when the 2007 Community Shield went to penalties.
Two to his right, one batted away down the middle. Van der Sar saved three penalties in a row to waltz the Red Devils to the shield. Didn’t even break a sweat.
With a place in the final on the line, Burkina Faso had managed to take Egypt all the way to penalties. Unfortunately, fortunes ran dry around there.
Veteran Egypt keeper El-Hadary thrived on the spot kicks and saved twice to ensure his nation made the final. A touch of class and a wise head on his shoulders was the perfect recipe for the scenario.
More Dutch uncertainty from the penalty spot was worked out of them by Italian goalkeeper Toldo during the Euro 2000 semi-final.
Toldo had been immense all game and started the shootout strong, pawing away efforts from Frank de Boer and crucially Paul Bosvelt to give the Italians passage to the final with a 3-1 shootout win.
Drawing inspiration from Bruce Grobbelaar, some spaghetti legs and further penalty heroics from Dudek made him the hero as Liverpool dramatically won the Champions League in 2005.
His unique leg work proved a distraction for Milan’s Serginho, before Dudek saved further penalties from Andrea Pirlo and, crucially, Andriy Shevchenko to win the tournament.
Taking the reins from Oliver Kahn, Lehmann had some monstrous gloves to fill.
He did himself justice in the World Cup quarter final, though, saving two fine Argentina penalties from Roberto Ayala and Esteban Cambiasso to ensure Germany reached the semi-finals of their home tournament. Not only were they saves, but they were solid ones, too.
Two years after Euros heartbreak, Ricardo proved the number one villain to England yet again at the 2006 World Cup.
The Portugal goalkeeper saved three penalties to secure a 3-1 shootout win for his side, undoing England’s work to take the game that far despite being down to ten men.
There is nobody more intimidating in football than Oliver Kahn. So good luck trying to beat him on penalties.
Valencia felt that wrath in the final of the Champions League in 2000. Despite keeping Bayern Munich at bay, penalties were their undoing as Kahn’s monstrous frame dominated the net, saving two back to back and then blocking a crucial third to win the trophy for Die Roten.
A real clash of the titans, only spot kicks could decipher a winner in a Euro 2008 semi-final between Spain and Italy.
120 minutes yielded no goals, but the penalty shootout saw Casillas turn into the hero of the night, denying both Daniele De Rossi and Antonio di Natale to send his country to the semi-final of a tournament they went on to win.
Sorry, England fans.
The Three Lions had a golden side assembled, but penalties against Portugal at the Euro 2004 quarter-final brought it all to a halt. Ricardo saved an effort from Darius Vassell, before stepping forward himself and scoring a winning penalty. Disrespectful, but you’ve got to love it. Unbelievable nerves.