How do you properly honor a legend? Tributes don’t get much better than Eden Hazard’s to Antonin Panenka on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.
The former Czech star, who’s most well-known for his shootout-winning penalty in the final of Euro 1976, turned 69 on Saturday. Here’s that famous penalty, the original “Panenka”:
The cheeky technique, which is statistically one of the best ways to take a penalty, has become very common since Panenka introduced world football to it.
So when Hazard stepped up to the spot with Chelsea leading 2-1, he didn’t necessarily go to the dainty chip specifically because it was Panenka’s birthday. He might not have even known.
But, on the other end of this, you’d think goalkeepers or goalkeeper coaches would be aware that today, of all days, would be the day to anticipate a Panenka. It’s statistically advantageous for keepers to hold their ground, rather than guessing, anyway. But especially today.
Chelsea, after conceding early, cruised to a 3-1 victory over Newcastle.