Goalkeepers taunting penalty takers soon to be illegal
Soccer’s governing body is close to changing the rules to prevent goalkeepers from using disruptive techniques and taunting opponents before penalty kicks.
a single save or missed kick can be the difference between a team winning or losing
Roughly 85% of penalties are scored and only 11% are saved. A single save or missed kick can be the difference between a team winning or losing an event as big as the World Cup.
With the pre-kick antics likely on their way to illegality, VegasSlotsOnline News has compiled a list of the most savage and unforgettable goalkeeper performances on the line. Someone tell these guys they have a second career waiting in Hollywood.
Top 5: Goalkeepers taunting penalty takers
Emiliano Martinez dominates the World Cup Final
Martinez was at the top of his game during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. He helped guide Argentina to the World Cup Final, where they had a date with the defending champions France.
After 120 minutes, the score was knotted at three and the game headed to penalties. Both Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe scored their team’s first penalties, but Martinez came up with a huge save on Kingsley Coman. Paulo Dybala slotted his kick right up the middle of the goal, heaping tons of pressure onto France’s third taker, then-22-year-old Aurélien Tchouaméni.
spend more time under the weight of the near-90,000 game-attending fans
Martinez, sensing the gravity of the moment, dashed over to the penalty spot and picked up the ball as the young Frenchmen strolled over for his kick. Rather than say anything to him or ignore his plea, Martinez tossed the ball to the side of the box and made his youthful opponent spend more time under the weight of the near-90,000 fans in attendance.
The tactic worked, as Tchouaméni nervously dragged the ball wide of the goal, giving Argentina a 3-1 lead in the shootout. They went on to win 4-2 and secured their first World Cup trophy since 1986.
Kepa can’t hack it
Kepa Arrizabalaga made a blockbuster move from Athletic Bilbao to Chelsea in 2018 for €80m ($86.7m). He has had an up-and-down career since, chock-full of unforgettable moments, including when he refused to be substituted off with cramping during the League Cup Final.
One of his darkest moments, however, was when he managed to defeat himself with mind games.
The 2022 Carabao Cup Final was a snore. Neither Chelsea nor Liverpool managed to score a single goal in 120 minutes, and the players were not playing to the best of their abilities. That meant that the game was going to be decided by penalties.
Kepa, Chelsea’s second-choice keeper at the time, was subbed on for regular starter Édouard Mendy at the end of the game due to a supposed tactical advantage—a decision that would come to be rued by Chelsea fans all over.
blasted the ball directly at the Spanish keeper, scored, and stared him down
Kepa reeled off multiple failures during the shootout. First, he stood off the center of his line during Virgil Van Dijk’s turn at the spot, daring him to shoot to the far corner. Instead, the 6-foot-5 Dutchman blasted the ball directly at the Spanish keeper, scored, and stared him down.
Later on, Kepa directed young Harvey Elliott to his right-hand side as if he was telling him exactly where to shoot. Elliott calmly obliged and put the ball exactly where Kepa had pointed, except he dove the opposite way.
Chelsea’s stopper pulled off a trifecta of failures later in the shootout when Ibrahima Konaté stepped to the spot. He shouted “right” as his opponent charged at and kicked the ball to the right, just where he was directed. Kepa dove the way that he said he would this time, but did not have enough to stop the powerful shot.
The fateful blow came when Kepa was forced to take a penalty. All 21 takers before him, 11 for Liverpool and 10 for Chelsea, had managed to score, meaning that he needed to do the same to reset the order and keep sudden death going. Instead of doing that, he smashed the ball well over the crossbar, and Liverpool was crowned champion. This is a great example of how goalkeepers taunting penalty takers can backfire.
“Chip me, bro!”
Alex Telles had an anomaly of a season in 2019-20 with Porto. Despite being a left-back, he scored 11 goals and was so proficient at finding the back of the net that he became his team’s designated penalty kicker.
He played so well that year that he ended up getting a big-money move to Manchester United, but before he could complete that deal, he found himself on the wrong side of a duel with Maritimo goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh.
Porto went on to win the 2019-20 league title, but found itself trailing 2-1 when Telles stepped to the spot in the 88th minute. The score could not be corroborated by the final game stats, which favored Porto 78%-22% in possession and 32-11 in shots.
Ignoring the reality that Porto was the more dominant side, the Iranian goalkeeper repeatedly shouted at Telles while he was preparing for the kick and even during his run-up: “Chip me!” and “Chip me, bro!” Telles ignored him and fired the ball to his right-hand side about halfway up the frame, but Abedzadeh read the placement perfectly and was there waiting when the ball arrived.
Maritimo’s Nanú and Porto’s Otávio scored in extra time, and the underdogs walked away with a 3-2 victory.
The Martinez-Mina beef
Martinez might have made waves with his antics during the World Cup, but he has been known as a mental warfare specialist for a while. Just ask Yerry Mina.
Argentina and Colombia squared off in the 2021 Copa America semifinal. Just like in the World Cup, the teams could not be separated after extra time and the match headed to penalties.
Mina was known for dancing after scoring and had done so after converting his kick in a quarterfinal shootout with Uruguay. Martinez was not a fan of his celebrations and brought the fight to the Colombian’s doorstep.
Playing in an empty Estadio Nacional in Brazil as the world recovered from the first major COVID strike, Martinez could be heard shouting a variety of digs at the big defender.
“You’re nervous, huh?” Martinez said. “You’re laughing but you’re nervous.”
I’m eating you up, brother. I’m eating you up, brother.”
“See how I know where you’ll shoot,” said the Argentine. “And then I’ll save it. I’m eating you up, brother. I’m eating you up, brother.”
To little surprise, the fearless Martinez came up with a low, sprawling save to keep the shootout tied at one apiece. He went on to make three saves in the shootout and helped lift Argentina into the final against Brazil, which it won 1-0.
A teammate knows best
Liverpool had one of the most feared attacks in the world in 2021, led by Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah, but in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) they were as fierce of rivals as there is.
Playing for a continental championship, Senegal was awarded an early penalty when Mohamed Abdelmonem wiped out Saliou Ciss in the danger area. Salah, knowing his club-level attacking partner better than anybody, walked over to goalkeeper Mohamed Abougabal and seemed to tell him where Mane was going to go.
The Senegalese was wise to what was happening and went over to interrupt the conversation, but Salah made sure to get his final words across. A minute or so later, Mane rifled a shot into the palms of the waiting Abougabal.
Maybe Salah was right and knew where Mane was going, or maybe the conversation prompted the latter to put the ball where he normally wouldn’t have. Either way, Salah was inside Mane’s head that day.