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Soccer

When Keeping It Highlight Reel Goes Wrong: Panenka Edition

12:03 PM EST on January 7, 2024

When French forward Antoine Mille strutted up to take what could've been the winning kick in a penalty shootout on Saturday, he never could have imagined that the attempt would bring the soccer world's eyes upon him.

Both his team, Châteauroux, and his opponent, Les Herbiers, compete in France's third division. The competition that brought them together on Saturday was the Coupe de France, where the two teams vied for a spot in the round of 32. Even taking into account the potentially decisive nature of the penalty, and the cheeky choice to shoot it Panenka-style no less, there was no reason to believe that anything in an early-round cup match in France between two lower-division clubs would register on the greater soccer scene. But then Mille went and did this:

The rewards of the Panenka, when successful, are well established; the skill is difficult to defend, as a technical matter it is relatively easy to perform, and when it goes in you look like a badass at the direct expense of the impotent goalkeeper. But Mille's effort is a helpful reminder that the Panenka has risks as well; actually pulling off the move isn't as easy as it might look, and failure can be so florescent that it can turn an unknown French soccer player into an international object of ridicule.

Thankfully, one needn't feel too bad for Mille. He is having by all reports an impressive season for Châteauroux, proof of which you could actually find earlier in Saturday's match, when the forward scored this legitimate banger to give his team the lead late in the first half:

Plus, Mille's teammate Geoffray Durbant scored his penalty after Mille's cockup, so Châteauroux went on to win anyway. So no harm, no foul, and bruises, even deep ones to the ego, eventually heal.

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