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Ten great EURO moments: Panenka's penalty

Ten days to go: Not many players conjure up something so special that it becomes synonymous with them – Czechoslovakia midfielder Antonín Panenka did just that.

Antonín Panenka kisses the trophy after Czechoslovakia's triumph
Antonín Panenka kisses the trophy after Czechoslovakia's triumph ©Getty Images

The game: Czechoslovakia 2-2 West Germany (Czechs win 5-3 on pens), 1976 final
The date: 20 June 1976
The location: Stadion FK Crvena zvezda, Belgrade
The protagonist: Antonín Panenka

What made it special?
Some called it a footballing poem, written by a genius. You can watch it a hundred times and the wonder never ceases. Taking the decisive kick in the first shoot-out in a EURO final, Panenka opted for the audacious by delicately chipping the ball over Germany goalkeeper Sepp Maier, as he dived to his left.

What did it mean?
Panenka's moment of magic sealed Czechoslovakia's only European title, already ensuring a place in the history books. From an individual perspective, a new style of penalty was born. Forever known as the 'Panenka', it has been copied many times, but you cannot improve on the original.

Czechoslovakia celebrate Panenka's penalty
Czechoslovakia celebrate Panenka's penalty©Stanislav Tereba

How Panenka remembers it
"I told the coaches to name me as the last penalty taker. It was not spontaneous; I had been practising that penalty for two years. I practised it in training, in friendlies, in league and cup games. The key thing was that nobody knew about it. I was 1,000% sure it would go in. I planned to try it in the semi-finals against the Netherlands but it did not go to penalties. It was fated to happen in the final. It was the icing on the cake of the 1976 UEFA European Championship."

Ivo Viktor, Czechoslovakia goalkeeper
"I made a dreadful mistake in the last minute of regular time and we conceded a goal. It went to penalties during which 'Tonda' Panenka became an unforgettable hero. When I meet him now, I always tell him: 'Without me and my mistake, there would have been no penalties and nobody would have heard of you!' I never believed he would try that penalty in the final – it still seems a bit cheeky to me, even after so many years."

Franz Beckenbauer, Germany
"Only a true champion would come up with such a solution."

Pele, Brazil
"Anyone who takes a penalty like that must be either a genius or a madman."

What the papers said
"A footballing poet was born." France Football