Monday 26 March 2018, 07:58

80 days to go: Penalty kick percentages

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is getting closer – 80 days to go!

In less than three months' time – on 14 June, to be precise – the 21st FIFA World Cup™ kicks off at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, as the hosts take on Saudi Arabia.

That leaves us plenty of time to enjoy a countdown. Between now and the start of the World Cup, we will take a closer look at a different statistic from the history of the tournament each day.

80 per cent of the penalties awarded at a FIFA World Cup in the near 90-year history of the competition have been converted. This means that four out of every five spot-kicks hit the back of the net – and some of them are unforgettable.

The eyes of the footballing world were on Zinedine Zidane on 9 July 2006. After his vital goals in the Round of 16 match against Spain and the last-four encounter with Portugal, the Frenchman got his name on the scoresheet again in the Final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ against Italy – and in some style! Zidane chose a Panenka-inspired shot that Gianluigi Buffon had no chance of stopping to score the most audacious penalty ever witnessed in a World Cup Final. The rest is history. Zidane later saw red for headbutting Marco Materazzi and France ultimately lost – on penalties.

One man who has happier memories of a World Cup Final is Andreas Brehme, who converted a matchwinning spot-kick five minutes before the end of the 1990 FIFA World Cup™ in Italy to give Germany a 1-0 victory over Argentina.