The Czech idol envisions his home country beating Portugal in spot-kicks and thinks the Real Madrid star will crumble on the big stageAntonin Panenka predicts that the Czech Republic will beat Portugal on penalties, with Cristiano Ronaldo missing the vital spot-kick.
Panenka, who famously scored with an audacious chipped penalty to beat Germany in the Euro 1976 final and believes the quarter-final clash on Thursday will go down to the wire.
“The game will end 1-1 and the Czech Republic will win in a penalty shoot-out, he told Portuguese football website Maisfutebol.
“We Czechs are colder than the Portuguese. They are too emotional and impulsive. In a scenario like this, in a penalty shoot-out, the calmer team wins. That will be an advantage for us.
“I would say that Cristiano Ronaldo is better at free kicks than penalties. He trembles too much with penalties from what I’ve seen, but he’s under a lot of pressure.
“For him to finish a game without scoring a goal is like losing a game. If he has to take a penalty I think he’ll miss again.”
Panenka then revealed he hopes to see his country pull off a shock like they did in 1976 and go on and win the tournament.
“It would be beautiful. We have a good team,” he said.
His famous chipped penalty came to be known as a ‘Panenka’ and the 63-year-old took a trip down memory lane.
“Was it 36 years ago? I didn’t remember. People thought I was mad, but I did that many times. I did it again other times.
“I practised penalties in training every day since I was a kid, as well as free kicks and corners. They didn’t always come off well, but they nearly always did.
“Germany keeper Sepp Maier didn’t frighten me. I knew that if I scored we were champions. I decided to do it the most beautiful way so that they wouldn’t forget me 36 years later.”