Only the coolest can handle a penalty on the ultimate stage. Find out what it takes, from Thomas Müller, Steven Gerrard, Luis Suárez and Fabio Coentrão.
Penalties have the potential to be heartbreaking. In fact in New Jersey, the high school soccer state finals can end in a tie after overtime because (allegedly) they do not want games to end in penalty kicks because a player runs the risk of shouldering the blame of losing the game for his team if he misses a crucial penalty kick. Now of course professional sports finals can’t end with “co-champions” so penalty kicks are necessary. However, any player who has taken a penalty kick knows that they are not as easy as they look. You could take a million penalty kicks in practice but nothing can replicate the pressure of a penalty kick. That’s why there are only a few players on each team trusted with taking them. Steven Gerrard has buried a lot of penalty kicks in his career but if Jamie Carragher had taken those same penalties Liverpool’s record this past decade would have looked a lot different. At the end of the day, if you aren’t confident enough to take a penalty kick then don’t take it because by that point you have lot the most important part of the penalty kick battle, the mental battle.