From Davies to Ayew, the penalty gave more than one disappointment. And if Messi also fails…
You want to say that it’s not by these details that you can’t judge a player. The penalty kick also becomes fatal in Qatar 2022, for national teams who dreamed of crazy qualifications and instead stop 11 meters from the dream. But that’s not all: even Messi, this year, failed to overcome the tension of the penalty, breaking against the save of Szczesny (who is running to become number one in the specialty of neutralized penalties). How scary is it to kick a penalty in this World Cup? Quite a lot, judging by the numbers.
In all, 14 penalty kicks were awarded: 9 scored (such as Enner Valencia’s against Qatar, the tournament’s inaugural goal, or Cristiano Ronaldo’s center against Ghana) and 5 missed. The first mistake from the penalty spot came on November 22, and bears an illustrious signature: Mexico-Poland, Lewandowski is sure, but in front of him is that devil Memo Ochoa, one who in past editions has defused Neymar’s racing cars and Kroos, and also gives himself a spell from eleven meters. Result: 0-0, two points lost for Poland. But with Michniewicz’s national team fate was kind. The following day the red and whites didn’t play much against Saudi Arabia and hurt themselves: penalty for the Asians, but Al Dawsari crashed into Szczesny. Result in the safe with the seal of Lewandowski who closes the accounts in the final and redeems himself after the failed penalty. On the third day another penalty made Polish history in this World Cup: Messi could give Argentina the lead, but the Juventus goalkeeper responded presently. Poland lost 2-0, that save was decisive for the goal difference issue.
That penalty from Davies
Then there’s the sad part; the story of those who had to say goodbye to the World Cup for a penalty (as well as obviously Saudi Arabia, which effectively pulled the plug after Al Dawsari’s mistake against Szczesny). Canada offered a pretty good appetizer of what they could produce at home in four years: the national team of the maple leaf debuted with an excellent performance against Belgium, but at 0-0 Alphonso Davies missed a bloody penalty. The Red Devils thank you and do not reciprocate the courtesy. Few joys then for the Canadians: but if that penalty had come in on the first day, who knows…
Even more painful is Ghana’s relationship with stories from eleven meters. Especially when Uruguay is involved. In 2010, in the quarter-finals of the tournament in South Africa, the Ghanaians had the chance to score the decisive penalty in the 120th minute, after a save by Suarez (who was sent off): but Gyan hit the crossbar. And the Celeste triumphs in the final lottery. The film repeats itself in Qatar: at 0-0 the Africans (who even a draw may be enough to advance to the round of 16) benefit from a penalty. This time André Ayew goes from the penalty spot: he was on the pitch in 2010, yet he gets excited and lets Rochet save a too trivial conclusion. Uruguay, exactly like in the 2010 World Cup, thanks a lot and strikes to death, even if it won’t be enough to go to the round of 16. Ghana goes out, again thanks to a shot from eleven meters. You want to say that it’s not by these details that you judge a player: eleven meters of bitterness remain inside you forever.
December 2, 2022 (change December 2, 2022 | 20:54)
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