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My top six penalty misses

David ClarkeIt’ll sson be Euro 2012 in Poland and the Ukraine and that usually heralds a whole load of penalties – here’s my six top penalty misses in all competitions.

John Terry, CHELSEA v Manchester Utd (Champions League Final 2008)

After a 1-1 draw on the night, Cristiano Ronaldo missed his spot-kick to put Chelsea within touching distance of the trophy, but his crucial slip sent the ball crashing against the outside of the post, leaving the England international on the floor and in tears.

Lionel Messi, BARCELONA v Chelsea (Champions League Semi-Final 20120)

Barcelona started the second half 2-1 up but Chelsea were down to 10 men. Messi had the chance to gain the psychological advantage but hit the bar and Chelsea went on win the game.

Denis Bergkamp, ARSENAL v Manchester Utd (FA Cup Semi-Final replay 1999)

Bergkamp could have won the game with a last minute penalty. The match was notable for a disallowed Arsenal goal, the sending-off of Manchester Utd’s Roy Keane for a second bookable offence, a last-minute penalty save by Peter Schmeichel, and finally and most memorably a winning goal by Ryan Giggs, intercepting a pass near the half way line, before taking the ball past five Arsenal defenders and scoring past goalkeeper David Seaman.

Ruud van Nistelrooy MANCHESTER UNITED v Arsenal (Premier League 2003/04)

With the scores level at 0-0, United were given a controversial penalty in injury-time after Patrick Vieira had earlier seen red for a kick-out at Van Nistelrooy, but the Dutch striker made it three consecutive misses from the spot after he rattled the underside of the crossbar.

Gareth Southgate, ENGLAND v Germany (Semi-Final Euro’ 96)

After Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle failed at Italia ’90, it fell to Southgate to end the hopes of the Three Lions on home soil six years later, as football ‘came home’ but then swiftly left for Germany on penalties.

Roberto Baggio, Brazil v ITALY (World Cup Final 1994)

The first World Cup final to be decided on penalties, it was a moment that would define Baggio’s career despite some of the great things he achieved for both club and country.



Sir Alex can prove the power of the coach

DavidClarkeEngland’s chances of winning the World Cup in South Africa got a massive boost when Sir Alex Ferguson decided to take a huge gamble and sign Michael Owen.

Manchester Utd have not played with a goal poacher since Ruud van Nistelrooy was sold to Real Madrid and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hung up his boots.

But it will take all the coach’s finest attributes to change the fortune of a striker who has not scored since January and was unable to score goals to prevent Newcastle being relegated.

England could do with a fired up Owen if he finds his goal scoring touch again. There are few goal poachers in the England set up, indeed there are few in the English Premier League with the exception of Jermaine Defoe.

England manager Fabio Capello will be watching with interest. So will I. A coach can do such a lot for players and if Owen fits in at Manchester Utd expect to see a different player when he runs out on the pitch. At Newcastle his head was often down and that was evident in his play.

A coach can restore confidence and give a player their touch back. Remember when he was scoring goals for fun for England, Liverpool and Real Madrid? Here’s a reminder:




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