The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world, and it’s not just about who wins. It’s also about the stories of teams ending in infamy, like those who lost on penalties.
Penalty shootouts are a lottery. If you get it right, you’re off to the next round; if you get it wrong, you know where this is going.
But while most people remember the winners, they tend to forget all about the losers – until now! Here’s a list of some of the worst teams in World Cup penalty shootout history:
England has an abysmal record from the penalty spot. They have been knocked out of the World Cup on penalties on three occasions (1990, 2006, and 2014) and have also lost out at Euro 2004 and Euro 2020.
Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle were the original heartbreakers for the Three Lions faithful when they missed against West Germany in 1990. Eight years later, failed attempts from Paul Ince and David Batty saw Argentina progress.
England made it three consecutive World Cup penalty shootout defeats in 2006, going out to Portugal as Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Jamie Carragher all missed. They had been beaten by the Ricardo-inspired Selecao the same way two years prior at Euro 2004.
The 1990s were a dark time for Italy’s penalty shootout record. They lost three consecutive World Cup penalty shootouts from 1990 to 1998 and have never lost more than one in a row since.
The first of these losses came against Argentina in 1990, where Roberto Donadoni and Aldo Serena missed their spot kicks as the Azzurri lost 5-4 at the semi-final stage.
A year later, Roberto Baggio missed his penalty, and Carlos Roa denied Massaro as Italy lost 4-2 to Brazil in that final in Pasadena.
In 1998, it was Luigi Di Biagio’s turn to miss from the spot as France won the quarter-final 5-3 on penalties after the game ended 1-1 after extra time.
In their first World Cup penalty shootout, Spain was defeated by Belgium. Only one player, Eloy, missed ten efforts.
Spain has participated in two other penalty shootouts, ending in defeat. They lost to the Republic of Ireland 3-2 in 2002 after unconvincingly winning the match 3-0.
Two goals were chalked off on dubious grounds, and Spain lost the shootout 3-2. In 2010, hosts South Africa eliminated them after Iker Casillas denied Bongani Khumalo’s effort.
In 2018 they lost again in a shootout against Russia after Koke and Iago Aspas missed from the spot.