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Francesco Totti Once Took An Outrageous Penalty In A Euro Semi Final Against Netherlands

Marcus Chan

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Francesco Totti Once Took An Outrageous Penalty In A Euro Semi Final Against Netherlands

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@EURO2024

Francesco Totti showed his class 22 years ago with one of the best penalties you will ever see. 

Italy were up against the hosts, Netherlands in the Euro 2000 semi final, with a place in the final at stake, both teams produced a cagey display. 

After 120 minutes of stalemate, it was down to the lottery of a penalty shoot out to decide the winner.

Luigi Di Biagio and Gianluca Pessotto held their nerves and dispatched their spot kicks as Dutch duo Frank de Boer and Jaap Stam faltered. 

With the Italians 2-0 up in the shoot out, Totti stepped forward in a bid to give his side match point, facing him was Edwin van der Sar

Totti strolled up, in front of the Dutch fans and produced an insanely calm Panenka style penalty as he chipped the ball down the middle. Panenkas were not in fashion back then, this shows the genius of Totti to try that in a semi final of a major tournament. 

Van der Sar dived to his right as the ball looped past him down the middle, it was match point to Italy. Justin Kluivert held his nerve to score his side’s first kick of the shoot out to keep his team alive. Paolo Maldini, the Italy captain then missed his kick, but full back Paul Bosvelt failed to convert. Italy were through to face France in the final. 

David Trezeguet became the French hero as he netted the Golden Goal in the 103rd minute and handed France the trophy. 

Totti spoke about that penalty in his autobiography titled, Gladiator. 

He said: “As long as Zoff and Francesco Rocca, his assistant, were watching, I took my classic penalties, hard and angled.”

“But when they left, after telling us to keep going for another five minutes, I liked trying a few in the Panenka style, where the ball goes down the middle and taunts the keeper, who has already dived to one side. In short, a chip shot.” 

“So, after whispering ‘I’m going to do a Panenka’ to Di Biagio as I passed him, I walked towards Van der Sar followed by his ‘no, no’ in a low voice, because if he shouted out then some of the Dutch might have suspected something and signalled to the keeper to expect something out of the ordinary.” 

France celebrates after winning Euro 2000. Image Credit: Alamy
France celebrates after winning Euro 2000. Image Credit: Alamy

“I was very afraid of making a mistake, but there was a rock-solid idea in my head. No posing. Be clinical. The chip came out perfectly.”

“The goalkeeper, who had tried to screw with me by feinting left and diving to his right, saw a mocking ball fly over him: it must have seemed so close to him, yet it was unreachable because the weight of his falling body denied him that glancing blow off his torso that might have been enough.” 

“I looked at the bench and saw stunned faces. Inzaghi had his hand on his forehead as if to say ‘He’s crazy.’ When I passed Toldo as he went to retake his place in goal, I saw him laughing as if he already knew everything and couldn’t wait to enjoy the finale.” 

Topics: Francesco Totti, Italy, Netherlands, Football, France

Marcus Chan
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