The worst penalties in football after Eric Bailly's no-look blunder

Zaza’s embarrassing run-up, Henry and Pires’ Arsenal mishap and Lookman’s disastrous panenka… the worst penalties in football after Eric Bailly’s shocking no-look miss for the Ivory Coast in AFCON shootout exit

  • Eric Bailly’s shocking no-look shootout penalty cost Ivory Coast a spot at AFCON
  • The Man United defender missed the crucial effort as they went out to Egypt
  • Sportsmail looks back in history at the worst penalties ever taken in football… 

Eric Bailly chose to look away for his Africa Cup of Nations penalty shootout effort against Egypt – and Ivory Coast fans ended up joining him in doing so a few seconds later.

The Manchester United centre-back’s casual no-look penalty was saved to cost the Elephants’ spot in the tournament, as Liverpool’s Mo Salah went on to score the winning penalty to put the Pharaohs through. 

Bailly’s stunning error is in a long line of shocking penalties to grace the world of football over the years, from disaster panenkas to costly slip-ups – quite literally. 

Here, Sportsmail picks out some of the worst penalties after Bailly’s shocker…  

Manchester United’s Eric Bailly is the latest footballer to commit a horror penalty miss 

Bailly’s no-look penalty shootout effort for the Ivory Coast against Egypt at AFCON was saved 


There’s never a time and a place to completely blaze a spot-kick effort miles over the bar. Unfortunately for Roberto Baggio, he chose the vital shootout effort in the 1994 World Cup final. 

Missing such a crucial penalty was the last thing you’d expect Baggio to do in 1994. He came into the tournament as FIFA’s World Player of the Year and was solely responsible in taking the Azzurri to the final. 

Baggio scored five goals in the knockout stages of the competition – including braces against Nigeria and Bulgaria in the last-16 and semi-final rounds respectively – and was Brazil’s key man to watch in the final.

Roberto Baggio was one of the best players in the world but missed decisive penalty at 1994 World Cup

Baggio skied his shootout effort over to give the World Cup to Brazil in the United States

The Selecao kept him at bay throughout the 90 minutes and extra-time period, but when the Italian attacker stepped up to take the all-important fifth and final penalty, everything went wrong.

Baggio blazed over the bar and Italy immediately lost the final. The Italian was such a skilled player throughout his career, but his name will always be associated with that moment.


Fulham suffered Premier League relegation in fairly comprehensive fashion last season, finishing 11 points from safety come the end of the campaign.

But maybe they would have had a little more confidence in themselves had Ademola Lookman not fluffed his lines to earn an all-important point away at West Ham in November 2020. 

A fairly forgettable London derby between the Hammers and Fulham suddenly came to life in stoppage time, when Tomas Soucek gave David Moyes’ side a 91st-minute lead at the London Stadium.

Ademola Lookman tried a 98th-minute panenka penalty with Fulham 1-0 down at West Ham

Lookman scooped the effort into the hands of grateful West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianksi

But Fulham showed heart in the little time that remained and won a penalty after Said Benrahma fouled Tom Cairney inside the box.

Up stepped Fulham’s Lookman in the eighth minute of added time, but clipped a disastrous panenka penalty straight into the hands of grateful West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

That effort ended up being the last kick of the game and Fulham came away from West Ham empty-handed.


Before 2018, England were awful at penalty shootouts. Really awful. And this effort from David Beckham summed up how bad the Three Lions were at spot-kicks.

The Euro 2004 quarter-final between England and Portugal was filled with controversy and major moments. 

Golden boy Wayne Rooney came off injured early on for England, who forced penalties through Frank Lampard’s late extra-time equaliser.

David Beckham skied over an awful effort as England crashed out of Euro 2004 on penalties

And captain Beckham got the Three Lions off to the worst possible start by absolutely skying over the first spot-kick of the game. That effort was never in.

England ultimately crashed out when Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo – who didn’t wear gloves for his penalties – saved from Darius Vassell and then scored the winning penalty himself.


Penalty shootout routines are fairly common. 

Johan Cruyff and Jesper Olsen were the first pair to exchange passes at a penalty kick for Ajax against Helmond Sport in 1982, while Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez repeated the same trick for Barcelona against Celta Vigo in February 2016. 

But there have been times where it has gone wrong. Just ask Arsenal’s French duo Thierry Henry and Robert Pires. 

The Gunners’ home clash against Manchester City in October 2005 was a day of celebration as it was striker Henry’s first Premier League match after overtaking Ian Wright’s goalscoring record for Arsenal.

Robert Pires (left) and Thierry Henry (middle) tried to combine for a penalty in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Man City in 2005

Pires had put Arsenal 1-0 up with a penalty of his own and Henry was expected to take a second spot-kick awarded to the Gunners just minutes later.

But Pires stood up again – and then tried to pass the ball to Henry. Arsenal’s No 7 didn’t connect with the ball and Henry just ran past and City were given a free-kick.

Arsenal ran out 1-0 winners in the end, but that could have been even more uglier than it was.


Another common theme in penalties is a special run-up. Whether it’s taking strides around the ball before striking it, or turning your back to the ball before running up quickly and taking it, they can be pretty effective.

But rule No 1 if you have a special run-up: make sure you score. Because if you don’t, you look silly.

Take Italy’s Simone Zaza as a great example. Italy had held 2014 World Cup winners Germany to a 1-1 draw in their Euro 2016 quarter-final, so penalties ensued.

Simone Zaza took a painful run-up before blazing over in Italy’s Euro 2016 exit to German

With the scores level at 1-1, striker Zaza stepped up and revealed to the world his penalty trick. The Italian took several steps on the spot as he slowly stepped up to the ball, only to blast over.

In fairness to Zaza, he wasn’t the only Italian to miss in that shootout as Manuel Neuer guided Germany to a 6-5 shootout victory to send Antonio Conte’s side crashing out. But that spot-kick set the tone with regards to Italy’s exit.


There are generally two rules when it comes to penalties. Get them off the ground and get them on target. 

Former Swansea midfielder Bersant Celina did neither when the south Wales club travelled to West Brom for their Championship fixture in March 2019. 

After the Baggies took the lead through Chris Brunt’s free-kick, Swansea were awarded a penalty just five minutes before half-time to level the game.

Swansea’s Bersant Celina slipped while taking a penalty at West Brom and the effort went backwards

Celina stepped up confidently but slipped as he moved towards the spot and barely connected with the ball – which ended up going backwards! 

That miss was costly for Swansea, who were thrashed 3-0 after half-time in the end, but Celina finding the net in that instance, instead of falling over his own feet, could have changed that outcome.


Let’s set the scene. It’s the final day of the 2012-13 League One season and third-placed Brentford host Doncaster in second – with the two teams separated by just one point.

It meant the Bees needed to beat Doncaster at home on the final day to overtake them into the final promotion spot. Rovers, meanwhile, needed a win and hope leaders Bournemouth slipped up to take the title. 

A toxic game at Griffin Park looked to be heading for a 0-0 draw until Michael Oliver awarded Brentford a penalty deep into stoppage time for a foul on Toumani Diagouraga.

Marcelo Trotta’s late penalty miss for Brentford at Doncaster cost the Bees promotion from League One

Trotta took the penalty off regular taker Kevin O’Connor before smashing the crossbar 

On-loan Fulham striker Marcello Trotta seized control of the ball, even though club captain and regular penalty taker Kevin O’Connor wanted to take it. Trotta won the war of words at the penalty spot and was tasked with sending Brentford into the second tier.

Cue mayhem. Trotta struck the bar and the ball rebounded away to Doncaster striker Billy Painter on the half-way line. Painter slid in James Coppinger who scored to win the title for Rovers – and leave Brentford heartbroken.

The Bees lost the League One Play-Off final to Yeovil Town in the following month, but they did manage to win promotion to the Championship in the next season.


Everyone remembers where they were for John Terry’s crucial Champions League final miss for Chelsea.

The first all-English European final between Manchester United and Chelsea was set up as a memorable occasion and it certainly delivered. 

Talismen Cristiano Ronaldo and Frank Lampard scored for either side to take the game into extra-time, while Didier Drogba was sent off in the additional period to set up penalties.

John Terry was reduced to tears after missing a crucial Champions League final penalty in 2008

The Chelsea captain could have won the final if he scored but slipped and hit the post

Ronaldo then saw his spot-kick saved by Petr Cech, leaving Chelsea just a few kicks from their first ever European title. 

Club captain Terry, ever the reliable figure for the Blues, had the chance to win the final for Chelsea by simply scoring his penalty. Terry stepped up, slipped, hit the post and United were spared.

Later in the shootout, Edwin van der Sar saved a sudden death penalty from Nicolas Anelka to seal glory for United. Terry was seen sobbing in the Moscow rain, in one of football’s most iconic images.


Fixtures between Liverpool and Manchester City tend to be quite important nowadays, but none were more vital than those in the 2018-19 season.

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds and Pep Guardiola’s City were neck-and-neck for the vast majority of the entire campaign and had to be separated by one point in May. 

They both met level on points at the top in October 2018 in a largely forgettable match, until the final stages of the game. 

Riyad Mahrez (right) blazed over a late effort as Manchester City drew 0-0 at Liverpool in 2018

Virgil van Dijk brought down City winger Leroy Sane and the visitors were awarded a late penalty. 

Summer signing Riyad Mahrez was tasked with taking it and he couldn’t have handled the occasion more poorly. The £60million Algerian signing casually blasted his effort over the bar and Liverpool were saved from defeat.


They say you need a cool head when taking a penalty, but Crystal Palace’s Jason Puncheon took too much of that advice in 2014.

Palace visited Spurs in early 2014 in the Premier League relegation zone but had a major chance to claim a scalp when they were awarded a spot-kick after just seven minutes.

Jason Puncheon nonchalantly blazed over for Crystal Palace in a January 2014 loss to Spurs

Midfielder Puncheon nonchalantly stepped up to the ball but spooned his effort miles over the crossbar. 

The Eagles were made to rue that miss as second-half goals from Christian Eriksen and Jermain Defoe earned Spurs a victory, as Palace slipped to the foot of the table.

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