Piqué's PK

Spain defeated Portugal in a penalty shootout last night, and three Barça players took kicks, namely Andrés Iniesta, Gerard Piqué and Cesc Fàbregas, with the other two taken by Real Madrid’s Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos. Piqué’s case was particularly noteworthy because it was the first time he has ever taken a penalty in an official match.

Since he arrived at FCB in 2008, it has largely been the duty of Messi, and occasionally Eto’o, Villa or Ibrahimovic, to take penalties in regulation time, while the team has never had to endure the lottery of a shootout since the centre back has been on the books.

Like a true specialist

Piqué wasn’t in Luis Aragonés’ squad the last time Spain faced a penalty shootout, which was against Italy in the quarter finals of Euro 2008. And since Piqué has been an international, David Villa has usually been the man chosen to take spot kicks.

In Donetsk, when the pressure could not possibly have been more intense, Gerard Piqué kept his typical cool and struck a low hard shot into the back of the net. He might have been a ‘penalty rookie’, but his delivery was worthy of the finest specialists of the art.