Bizarre, ridiculous, idiotic.
Simone Zaza has been heavily criticised for his unorthodox penalty, described as the ‘worst of all time’ by some, during the Euro 2016 quarter-final between Italy and Germany on Saturday evening.
The Juventus forward took a host of pigeon steps as he ran up to the ball, before blazing it high over the crossbar.
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Italy went on to lose the penalty shootout 6-5 - Graziano Pelle, Leonardo Bonucci and Matteo Darmian also missed - but it’s Zaza’s effort which will inevitably be talked about for years to come.
After the team arrived back in Italy on Sunday, the 25-year-old insisted he’d always taken spot-kicks in this manner but was apologetic that he missed “the most important penalty” of his life.
Zaza: I always take penalties like that
“I am sorry to have let the Italian people down,” Zaza was quoted as saying by The Sun. “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.”
Zaza reveals heartache
Speaking through tears, he continued: “It is hard and I will try to get over it but I want the Italian people to know what we have done.
“It’s not right that one bad miss cancels out everything we have given with all our hearts.
“There’s nothing I can do about it. I am sad because were doing something extraordinary.”
Zaza, who was sent on by Italy boss Antonio Conte in the final minute of extra-time specifically to take a penalty in the shoot-out, added: “The Italian people are happy anyway because, perhaps, they have understood that we gave it our all.
“In the end, I expected this.”
Video: Zaza's penalty miss
Despite their quarter-final exit, Italy still exceeded expectations in France.
Germany, meanwhile, will now take on Les Bleus in the semi-finals on Thursday.
The winners of that tie will meet the winners of the Portugal v Wales semi-final, which takes place on Wednesday evening.
Was Simone Zaza’s penalty the worst of all time? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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