Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

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.


One of the great FA Cup goals started with an interception

By David Clarke

Ryan Giggs has been a prolific goal scoring attacker for Manchester United. One of the goals he is remembered for is the 1999 FA Cup semi-final replay against Arsenal.

It was a game that had everything, a great Arsenal goal by Dennis Bergkamp, a disallowed Arsenal goal, Roy Keane sent off for a second bookable offence, a last minute penalty save by Peter Schmeichel and a fantastic goal by Ryan Giggs to win the game.

But what is often overlooked is that Giggs won the ball by intercepting a pass before running from the half-way line, beating five defenders and scoring past Schmeichel.

An interception is as good as, and sometimes better, than winning the ball in the tackle. In youth soccer an interception can catch the whole team out and create space for goal scoring opportunities.

You can get your players to try and intercept the ball by reacting to it quicker than the opposition. A lot of junior players will wait for the ball to come to them from a pass which gives the defenders chance to step in and take the ball before it gets to them.

Get your players to think about:

  • Read what the opposition midfield and strikers like to do.
  • Keep an eye out for players waiting for passes to come to them.
  • Be ready to block through balls from midfield to attack.
  • Interceptions give good opportunities to pass or run with the ball into space so don’t waste them.