CECH: THE EARLY FINAL AND THE 12-YARD TEST

Posted on: Sun 25 Feb 2007

Should today's Carling Cup Final go the maximum distance, the spotlight will fall firmly on the two goalkeepers. Petr Cech has challenged the popular belief that in a penalty shoot-out, they have nothing to lose.

 

While the Chelsea keeper is not going as far as to volunteer for a remake of 1970s arthouse film The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, he has his own take on the prospect of facing a spot-kick decider in Cardiff.

 

'You are not expected to save, but actually you are!' he reckons, and explains:

 

'It is easy to say it can only be the failure of the penalty taker but when you lose the penalty shoot-out, everyone is looking at the keeper and saying you didn't even save one. So that is not good.'

 

Cech's overall record in club level cup finals is won one, lost one - his previous Carling Cup Final experience with Chelsea the success; the defeat coming in the Czech Republic with Sparta Prague.

 

He has faced just one penalty shoot-out before, in the final of the European Under 21 Championship when his nation beat France. Cech saved two of the French spot-kicks with another flying over the bar.

 

'If a penalty shoot-out happens again on Sunday, I will be happy to face it,' he says.

 

'But you can only enjoy it after because being the goalkeeper in a shoot-out in a final is not the best position you can get.

 

'Of course you want to win and you are the only one who can save the penalties so everyone is relying on you. That is a huge pressure but I think you can enjoy it after if you win.

 

The 24-year-old keeper can make it four winners' medals in under three seasons if he plays in a Chelsea victory over Arsenal.

 

'Every trophy is a great thing for you, for the supporters and for every individual working every day in the club.

 

'In the first season we won the Carling Cup in February and after that you know that if everything goes horribly wrong, you have got your trophy and you can play with a bit more confidence, because at least you've got something in your hand.

 

'Okay, this is not the best trophy but at least you have one. If we win on Sunday it will give us a good boost because we can concentrate on only three trophies.'