Penalty-taking legend Panenka in hospital with Covid-19

Prague (AFP) –


Former Czech footballer Antonin Panenka, best known for his trick penalty kick, is in intensive care in hospital with Covid-19, his former club Bohemians said on Twitter on Wednesday.

"Antonín Panenka was taken to the ICU hospital today in a serious condition," said the club of which the 71-year-old is honorary president.

"Fight, Tondo!" it said, using his nickname.

Born in Prague in 1948, Panenka won the European Championship final for Czechoslovakia in 1976 with a cheeky, decisive penalty against Germany.

Instead of blasting it into the net, Panenka fooled the diving keeper by chipping the ball into the middle of the net -- a technique that has since been used by greats such as Zinedine Zidane, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Andrea Pirlo.

The shot is now referred to as a "Panenka".

Relatively spared at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Czech Republic has seen as a sharp rise in cases in recent days and registered a record high of 4,457 daily cases on Tuesday.