Two finals have been decided via the shootouts.

One of the most exciting or probably the most exciting part of the Beautiful Game are penalty shootouts. They are a fantastic way to decide the winners after a draw. One mistake and you may the next flight to your home. For fans, nothing is more thrilling than a penalty shootout. Just rethink about the few shootouts you have watched and remember the thrill you felt.

The FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar witnessed its first penalty shootout as Croatia beat Japan in their Round of 16 clash. Croatia advanced to the quarterfinals all thanks to the brilliant performance of the Croatian Goalkeeper Dominik Livaković. It will be a memorable one for the Goalkeeper as he entered the list of goalkeepers with three saves in a World Cup shootout.

Penalty shootouts were first used in FIFA World Cup 1982 in Spain. Since then there has been some amazing penalty shootouts which had fans on their toes. Let’s look at the top five most memorable Penalty shootouts in World Cup history.

South Korea vs Spain (2002 World Cup)

One of the most controversial World Cups. Many fans and experts pointed fingers at the tournament for being biased in favour of the host nations. This match thus was also engulfed in controversies and became one of the most infamous games in World Cup history.

The game, a quarter-final clash, finished in a draw and penalty shootouts were held to determine the winner. The results were 5-3 in favour of South Korea which progressed to the Semi-finals. The Spanish side with stars like Xavi, Luis Enrique, Raul, Iker Casillas and Carles Puyol were sent home after some contentious refereeing.

Portugal vs England (2006 World Cup)

The battle for a Semi-final spot was between Portugal and England. Both were quite enthusiastic teams and were deserving of the semi-final spot. The match ended in a goalless draw. The clash was to be decided by penalty shootouts. The memories of the 1998 World Cup penalty shootout between Argentina and England, which they lost were still fresh in the Minds of English fans.

And just like that match, England lost the match against Portugal on Penalties. The match saw a spectacular performance by the Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo, who saved three penalties and became the first player to save three penalties in a World Cup shootout.

Argentina vs Netherlands (2014 World Cup)

This match is quite memorable for all the Argentina and Lionel Messi fans. The match ended 0-0 in regular time and went to penalty shootouts. The semi-final match of World Cup 2014 was to be decided on penalties and that too between a European and a South American powerhouse. The result was the advancement of Argentina into the Final. La Pulga led Argentina defeated the Netherlands on penalties.

Brazil vs Italy (1994 World Cup)

The tournament in USA was a special one for Italy. Their star Roberto Baggio led them to the Final of the World Cup in 1994. Italy faced South American Giants Brazil in the final. Brazil with players like Cafu and Romario were up against the Italians with Baggio and Maldini in their team. The match ended in a goalless draw and what could have been a better way to decide a final than a Penalty shootout.

This was the first FIFA World Cup final decided by a penalty shootout. Italy’s Star Robert Baggio took the last penalty. Scoring that would have kept Italy alive in the shootout. But much to everyone’s surprise the Italian superstar missed the last penalty, resulting in Brazil winning the title for the fourth time.

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Italy vs France (2006 World Cup)

Football fans especially the French cannot forget the infamous headbutt of their star Zinedine Zidane in the World Cup final in 2006. The headbutt resulted in a red card for the player, who was then a big miss for France during the penalty shootout. Had he been on the pitch, the result of the tournament could have been different.

Italy vs France final clash headed into the penalty shootout after the game ended in a 1-1 draw during regulation time. This was only the second time a World Cup final was decided on penalties. Italy ended on the losing side the first time it occurred. However, unlike the 1994 edition, Italy managed to score all of their penalty kicks and took home their fourth World Cup title.

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