There’s a chance that, like Antonín Panenka, Simone Zaza’s name will forever be synonymous with a certain type of penalty.
However, unlike in Panenka’s case, this isn’t a good thing.
Zaza’s unorthodox spot-kick during Italy’s Euro 2016 quarter-final against Germany on Saturday night missed the target. Some have dubbed it the worst penalty of all time.
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“I am sorry to have let the Italian people down,” Zaza was quoted as saying by The Sun following Italy’s exit. “I missed the most important penalty of my life and I will carry this burden with me forever.
“I have always taken penalties like that and I was convinced I would score, I had sent him [Neuer] the wrong way but the ball set off and it went like that.”
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Video: Zaza's previous penalties
But is Zaza being honest when he says he’s “always” taken penalties in this bizarre way?
A short compilation video has emerged of Zaza’s previous penalties - there are only four - and none of them are as elaborate as his ridiculous effort against Manuel Neuer.
However, he’s telling the truth when he says he tends to use a stuttered run-up.
It worked for the Juventus forward during a Coppa Italia match against Inter last season.
But using that technique in a European Championship quarter-final - against arguably the world’s best goalkeeper - was obviously a huge risk.
Zaza clearly felt it would increase his chances of successfully converting past Neuer, but the world-class German stood his ground - presumably because he’d studied the player’s penalty technique beforehand.
Conte reluctant to blame players
One can only imagine the backlash Zaza would have faced if he was English, but Antonio Conte was reluctant to criticise his striker - or Graziano Pelle, Leonardo Bonucci and Matteo Darmian, who also missed penalties - after the match.
"The lads gave everything they had against a very strong side," the 46-year-old, who will join Chelsea this month, was quoted as telling Rai Sport by Goal. "Being beaten by Germany on penalties is no shame, as we could've gone forward too. I am proud of what these players did.
"The world champions changed their system for us and that's a reason to be proud."
Is Simone Zaza’s penalty the worst of all time? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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