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The highs and lows of EURO penalty shoot-outs

From Antonín Panenka's cool, iconic finish to Poland's recent dose of joy and heartbreak, EURO2016.com takes you on a whistle-stop tour of shoot-out drama down the years.

UEFA European Championship penalty shoot-outs ©Getty Images

When it comes to penalty shoot-outs, there are no grey areas – only success and failure, a place in the next round or a hasty trip to the airport. Just ask Poland, who defeated Switzerland from the spot in the last 16 before discovering the other side of the coin against Portugal, exiting UEFA EURO 2016 via the same method.

Defeat prevented the Poles from becoming the first team to win two shoot-outs at the same UEFA European Championship, while reacquainting Portugal with the unique thrill of spot-kick success after their 2012 loss to Spain. The emotions churned by a shoot-out tend to endure, after all, with perhaps the most famous penalty of all sailing into the net 40 years ago – in the very first of the tournament's 17 penalty sessions. EURO2016.com looks back through the annals.

EURO shoot-outs
 1976 final: Czechoslovakia 2-2 West Germany, Czechs won 5-3 on pens
 1980 third-place play-off: Czechoslovakia 1-1 Italy, Czechs won 9-8 on pens
 1984 semi-finals: Denmark 1-1 Spain, Spain won 5-4 on pens
 1992 semi-finals: Netherlands 2-2 Denmark, Denmark won 5-4 on pens
 1996 quarter-finals: Spain 0-0 England, England won 4-2 on pens
 1996 quarter-finals: France 0-0 Netherlands, France won 5-4 on pens
 1996 semi-finals: Germany 1-1 England, Germany won 6-5 on pens
 1996 semi-finals: France 0-0 Czech Republic, Czechs won 6-5 on pens
 2000 semi-finals: Italy 0-0 Netherlands, Italy won 3-1 on pens
 2004 quarter-finals: Portugal 2-2 England, Portugal won 6-5 on pens
 2004 quarter-finals: Sweden 0-0 Netherlands, Netherlands won 5-4 on pens
 2008 quarter-finals: Croatia 1-1 Turkey, Turkey won 3-1 on pens
 2008 quarter-finals: Spain 0-0 Italy, Spain won 4-2 on pens
2012 quarter-finals: England 0-0 Italy, Italy won 4-2 on pens
2012 semi-finals: Portugal 0-0 Spain, Spain won 4-2 on pens
2016 round of 16: Switzerland 1-1 Poland, Poland win 5-4 on pens
2016 quarter-finals: Poland 1-1 Portugal, Portugal win 5-3 on pens

The pressure heaped on Antonín Panenka seemed prodigious. He was one well-struck kick away from securing the 1976 UEFA European Championship crown for Czechoslovakia, against no lesser opponent than holders West Germany, the reigning world champions. Uli Hoeness's skied penalty had left the shoot-out poised at 4-3 for the Czechs, and so Panenka stepped forward knowing he could seal it.

Watch Panenka's classic penalty from the 1976 final

A hush descended in Belgrade as the 27-year-old placed the ball on the spot and walked back some 15 metres. He stopped, turned and in a pitter-patter of small steps approached his destiny, shaping as if to send his right-footed effort into the bottom-right corner.

Sepp Maier guessed as much and was on his way to that post as Panenka audaciously chipped a penalty over the goalkeeper and straight down the middle. It was a memorable finish to the first shoot-out at a major tournament – and while there have been many since, including in FIFA World Cup finals, perhaps none have bettered it.

For the Czechs, it proved a happy portent. Four years later, they beat Italy 9-8 in the shoot-out that followed their third-place play-off, Fulvio Collovati missing the decisive spot kick. At EURO '96, now playing under the flag of the Czech Republic, they made it a hat-trick with a 6-5 semi-final triumph against France.

Highlights: EURO penalty shoot-out heroes

Indeed, the Czechs' record of three victories from three shoot-outs, with 20 penalties converted and none missed, is unmatched. Germany have prevailed on spot kicks five times since 1976 but only once – in the other last-four fixture at EURO '96 against England – at a UEFA European Championship. They, like England, Spain, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, and now Poland, need no introduction to both the pleasure and pain of penalties.

Meanwhile, England joined the Netherlands as the competition's least successful shoot-out exponents in their UEFA EURO 2012 quarter-final, suffering their third defeat in four attempts. Andrea Pirlo's nerveless chipped effort, all the more impressive considering Italy were trailing at the time, bore all the hallmarks of Panenka.

Penalties, said Azzurri coach Cesare Prandelli, are a "lottery" – though some teams seem pretty consistent at choosing the right numbers. None, however, have managed to pull it off twice at the same finals after three attempts, meaning Portugal will be anxious to avoid another test of nerve in France.

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