6 times late penalty subs backfired as Ramsey costs Rangers Europa League glory

Penalty shootouts are arguably the most nerve-wracking thing footballers will ever have to endure – unless they're waiting to hear back from a super-injunction application of course.

The high stakes, a million eyes, the do-or-die nature of it all. Let's face it, it's bloody intense. But imagine for a second that you're brought on as a last-minute sub whose sole purpose is to be the difference-maker. Tense.

Though nerve-wracking or not, statistics show that these subs work, which is why no one batted an eyelid when Aaron Ramsey – who had been warming the bench for 119 minutes of the Europa League final on Wednesday – was chucked on to steer Rangers to glory.

As it happened, the former Arsenal man was the only player to fluff his lines in the shootout, effectively handing the cup to Eintracht Frankfurt. But he wasn't the first to screw up big like that, and he certainly won't be the last. With that in mind, here are six times late penalty subs have backfired horribly.

Kepa Arrizabalaga vs Liverpool – 2022

Kepa Arrizabalaga came so close to repairing his tattered legacy at Chelsea, but costing your team in a cup final isn't something fans are going to forget very easily.

Despite losing his place in the team to Edouard Mendy, the Spaniard buckled down and worked hard to iron out the numerous kinks in his game, and he was Chelsea's penalty hero in the Super Cup final back in August after coming on with a minute to go and saving two efforts.

As such, it seemed a no-brainer to bring him on against Liverpool when the Carabao Cup final ended in a stalemate, but what followed was a goalkeeper's worst nightmare. He failed to save 11 successive spot-kicks before ballooning his own effort into the stands. A difference-maker indeed.

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Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford vs Italy – Euro 2020

England boss Gareth Southgate took a major gamble by making two last-gasp changes at the end of extra time in the final of Euro 2020 last summer.

Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford had been bit-part players throughout the tournament, but were thrown head-first into the deep-end for the climax of the most important night in English football for over half-a-century.

Both players missed their kicks, with Rashford hitting the post and Sancho's effort getting batted away by the towering Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal, shifting the momentum in Italy's favour. Jorginho spurned the chance to wrap things up, but Bukayo Saka's miss immediately after condemned England to yet another agonising evening of international heartbreak.

Jamie Carragher vs Portugal – World Cup 2006

They say if you fail to learn from history you're doomed to repeat it, and Jamie Carragher's miss in the 2006 World Cup quarter-final shootout should've served as fair warning for Southgate last summer.

The Liverpool defender had been used sparingly for England at the tournament, and mostly at right-back, but had the weight of the nation thrust upon his shoulders after coming on as a late sub at the end of extra-time following a heated 120 minutes against Portugal.

Both Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard saw their spot-kicks saved by the irritatingly-impressive Ricardo, which meant Carragher had to score to keep England's hopes alive. Luckily, he did … though referee Horacio Elizondo hadn't blown his whistle and told the defender to re-take it. Naturally, Ricardo saved his second effort, and Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty seconds later dumped England's 'Golden Generation' out.

Mark Noble vs Man Utd – 2021

Mark Noble might be known as 'Mr West Ham', but after his late cameo against Manchester United back in September you might as well have called him 'missed-ugh West Ham' (I'm here all week).

David Moyes' side were trailing the Red Devils by a goal when Luke Shaw handled in the box to give the Hammers the chance to rescue a point in the 96th minute.

The Scotsman gambled and brought Noble on to take it, which made sense considering the 35-year-old had netted his last 10 spot-kicks, but David de Gea denied him with a flying save to his left-hand-side. An innocuous mistake at the time, but had that penalty gone in West Ham would be above Ralf Rangnick's side in the table. Go figure.

Simone Zaza vs Germany – Euro 2016

People might have felt sorry for Rashford, Sancho and Carragher, but no one felt sorry for Simone Zaza after the Italian's comical miss against Germany in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.

Antonio Conte's side were purring, having cruised past both Belgium and Spain despite being heavy underdogs, though few gave them much of a chance against Joachim Low's world champions. But 120 minutes in everything had gone to plan. Italy had stifled Germany all evening, and Conte threw supposed penalty-specialist Zaza on in the last minute to help seal an unlikely victory.

The Juventus man made an impact, but for all the wrong reasons. He spent nearly 10 seconds tip-toeing his way towards the ball before blazing it over the bar – a proper record-scratch of a miss – before the Italians were eventually knocked out.

Jasmin Fejzic vs Dortmund – 2012

In the 2012 DFB-Pokal semi-final against Borussia Dortmund, Greuther Furth manager Mike Buskens brought on goalkeeper Jasmin Fejzic in the 119th minute in the hopes that he could be the club's shootout hero. But the universe had other plans … cruel plans.

With the last kick of extra-time Ilkay Gundogan took a shot from the edge of the box which hit the post and bounced off Fejzic’s head into the net.

At least he got involved!

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