The penalty, maximum penalty or penalty kick is a technical sanction contemplated in the football’s rulebook (rule 14). It consists of a free kick from the penalty spot located 11 meters from the goal line, and only with the goalkeeper of the defending team between the penalty shooter and the goal.

Currently, the vast majority of penalties are transformed into goals. Even against the best and most experienced goalkeepers. This means that a penalty kick is usually decisive in a game with a closed score; since there’s a good chance that it will become a goal. Some tournaments, more often than not during their decisive phases, implemented a series of penalty shots. This is usually done to settle which team gets to be the victor after a tied match has been played to completion. There are special regulations for these kinds of penalties.

When Should a Penalty be Called?

The penalty is sanctioned by the main referee of the match when an infringement or fault occurs within the penalty area. The place where the fault occurs is taken into consideration, not the position of the ball when it occurs, sometimes an ill-behaved player could commit a fault without the ball being on the play. On a side note, these ‘bad boys’ need correcting during their practice time.

History of The Penalty

The origin of the penalty probably lies in rugby. As shown in some match reports. For instance, back in 1888: “Dewsbury received a penalty kick in front of the goal”. The concept of a penalty goal for fouls within the penalty area came up in a meeting of the Sheffield FA in 1879. Although the invention of the penalty kick in football is also credited to the goalkeeper and businessman William McCrum in 1890 in Milford; Armagh County in Northern Ireland.

Famous Penalty Kicks

When it comes to penalties, there is a non-canonic hall of fame for some penalty kicks (not all of them are famous for being awesome goals, people tend to remember infamous, unexpected fails that led a team into the losing side).

Pele’s #1000 Goal

Although it wasn’t a strange or unusual kick, it became a well-known fact that the 1,000th official goal in Pele’s career was a penalty kick. He did it in a match between Santos against Vasco da Gama, in the Maracana Stadium. It was on November 19th, 1969. The field was overrun by dozens of reporters who followed the player and tried to get his impressions.

The famous Paradinha

This term is related to a technique coined by Pele, which consisted of stopping the kicking sprint just before kicking the penalty kick, to then locate the ball to the opposite side of the goal arch to which the goalkeeper was. But, in 2010, FIFA regulations banned the use of this technique, prohibiting players from suddenly stopping just before a kick.

The ‘Cracks’

Anybody can have a bad day, right? Roberto Baggio missed the winning penalty kick against Brazil, leading the South American country to reign on FIFA World Cup, and even other ‘cracks’ such as Cristiano Ronaldo have failed the feat, being the latest miss on January 21st, 2019, when the Portuguese football star missed the chance against Chievo Verona.