Graziano Pelle was thankful for Simone Zaza last night.
The Southampton man's terrible penalty was overshadowed by Zaza's howler from 12 yards as Italy lost to Germany at Euro 2016.
But Pelle can hide no longer. He also missed in the shootout and, unlike Zaza, even had the nerve to tell Manuel Neuer where he was going to aim his effort.
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The Italy striker gestured that he was going to perform a Panenka penalty - a chip down the middle - before skewing his effort wide of Neuer’s right post.
There are many claiming that Pelle deserves just as much stick as Zaza is receiving, and it’s hard to argue with them. Is there anything more humiliating than completely missing the target after telling the goalkeeper you’re going to chip the ball down the middle? Probably not.
The 30-year-old has a history when it comes to Panenkas. As football writer Priya Ramesh points out, he performed one for Italy in the 2005 Under-20 World Cup and 2007 Under-21 European Championships and for Feyenoord in the 2012 KNVB Cup.
At the 2007 tournament, Pelle made a bet with Giorgio Chiellini and Riccardo Montolivo that he would perform a Panenka if the situation arose. And he fulfilled his promise, cheekily scoring in the knockout stage.
But last night in Bordeaux, he overthought the situation. Neuer, easily the world’s best goalkeeper, was never going to be unnerved by Pelle’s gesture.
The Southampton man ended up spooking himself. Embarrassing stuff.
He's got previous
Who took the worse penalty: Zaza or Pelle? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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