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How to Win Every Penalty Shootout: Tips and Tricks from the Pros

Penalty Shootout: A Thrilling Way to Decide a Football Match

Imagine this scenario: after 90 minutes of regular time and 30 minutes of extra time, two teams are still tied in a knockout football match. There is no room for error or compromise; only one team can advance to the next round or lift the trophy. How do you determine who deserves to win? This is where penalty shootout comes in.

A penalty shootout is a tie-breaking method in football that involves each team taking turns shooting at goal from the penalty mark, with only the opposing team's goalkeeper trying to stop them. Each team has five shots which must be taken by different players; if both teams score the same number of goals after five shots each, the shootout goes into sudden death rounds until one team scores more than the other.

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Penalty shootout is one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking ways to decide a football match. It tests not only the skill and technique of the players but also their mental strength and composure under pressure. It can produce moments of joy or agony for both teams and their fans.

In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about penalty shootout: its history, its rules, its statistics and records, and its tips and strategies. Whether you are a player, a coach, a fan, or a curious observer, you will find something useful and interesting in this article. So, let's get started!

The History of Penalty Shootout

The Origins of Penalty Shootout

Before penalty shootout was introduced, there were different ways to break a tie in football matches. Some of them were:

  • Replaying the match on another day

  • Flipping a coin or drawing lots

  • Using the away goals rule or the aggregate score

  • Using the number of corners, shots, or fouls as tie-breakers

However, these methods were either impractical, unfair, or unsatisfying for both teams and spectators. There had to be a better way to settle a deadlock on the pitch.

The idea of penalty shootout was proposed by an Israeli football administrator named Yosef Dagan in 1968. He was inspired by a similar concept used in hockey. He suggested that each team should have five penalty kicks from the spot, and the team with more goals would win. He presented his proposal to the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body that governs the rules of football, in 1970. The IFAB approved his idea and made it an official rule.

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The First Penalty Shootout in a Major Tournament

The first time penalty shootout was used in a major tournament was in the 1976 European Championship final between Czechoslovakia and West Germany. The match ended 2-2 after extra time, and the teams had to face each other from the spot. Czechoslovakia scored all five of their penalties, while West Germany missed one. The decisive kick was taken by Antonin Panenka, who chipped the ball softly over the diving goalkeeper Sepp Maier. His audacious technique became known as the "Panenka penalty" and inspired many other players to emulate it.

The Most Memorable Penalty Shootouts in Football History

Since then, penalty shootout has been used in many other tournaments and competitions, such as the World Cup, the Champions League, the Copa America, and the FA Cup. Some of them have been unforgettable for their drama, intensity, and emotion. Here are some of the most memorable penalty shootouts in football history:

  • The 1986 World Cup quarter-final between France and Brazil: This was a clash of two football giants, featuring stars like Michel Platini, Zico, Socrates, and Careca. The match ended 1-1 after extra time, and the shootout was tense and thrilling. France missed their first penalty, but Brazil missed three out of four. The final kick was taken by Platini, who had missed a penalty in normal time. He redeemed himself by scoring and sending France to the semi-finals.

  • The 1994 World Cup final between Brazil and Italy: This was the first and only time that the World Cup final was decided by penalty shootout. The match was goalless after 120 minutes of play, despite both teams having chances to score. The shootout was a nail-biter, with both teams missing two penalties each. The last kick was taken by Italy's Roberto Baggio, who had been their best player throughout the tournament. He skied his shot over the bar, giving Brazil their fourth World Cup title.

  • The 2005 Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan: This was one of the greatest comebacks in football history. AC Milan were leading 3-0 at half-time, thanks to goals from Paolo Maldini and Hernan Crespo (2). Liverpool staged a miraculous fightback in the second half, scoring three goals in six minutes through Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer, and Xabi Alonso. The match went to extra time and then to penalties. Liverpool's goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek made two saves from Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Shevchenko, while Liverpool scored all their penalties. Liverpool won their fifth European Cup in dramatic fashion.

  • The 2020 European Championship final between Italy and England: This was a historic occasion for both teams, as Italy were looking for their second European title and England were looking for their first major trophy since 1966. The match was played at Wembley Stadium in London, with over 60,000 fans cheering for their teams. The match ended 1-1 after extra time, with goals from Luke Shaw and Leonardo Bonucci. The shootout was tense and unpredictable, with both teams missing three penalties each. The final kick was taken by England's Bukayo Saka, who had his shot saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma , giving Italy their second European title and breaking England's hearts.

The Rules of Penalty Shootout

The Basic Rules of Penalty Shootout

The basic rules of penalty shootout are as follows:

  • Each team has five penalty kicks, which must be taken by different players who were on the pitch at the end of extra time.

  • The order of the kicks is decided by a coin toss. The team that wins the toss can choose to kick first or second.

  • The kicks are taken from the penalty mark, which is 12 yards (11 meters) from the goal line and equidistant from the goalposts.

  • The goalkeeper must stay on the goal line between the goalposts until the ball is kicked. He can move sideways but not forward.

  • The kicker must kick the ball forward. He cannot touch the ball again after it has been kicked.

  • If the ball hits the goalpost or crossbar and bounces back into play, the kick is over. If the ball rebounds from the goalkeeper, the kicker can score from the rebound.

  • If both teams score the same number of goals after five kicks each, the shootout goes into sudden death rounds. Each team takes one kick each until one team scores and the other misses.

  • The team that scores more goals than the other wins the shootout and the match.

The Variations of Penalty Shootout

There are some variations of penalty shootout that have been used or proposed in different competitions or situations. Some of them are:

The ABBA sequence: This is a system that alternates the order of kicks in each round. For example, if Team A kicks first in the first round, Team B kicks first in the second round, and so on. This is meant to reduce the psychological advantage of kicking first, which has been shown to increase


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