Beware the penalty specialist if final goes to shootout

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2022-12-17 | Since 2 Month

Didier Deschamps

Doha, 17 November 2022 - If Sunday's World Cup final becomes the third to go to penalties then coaches Didier Deschamps of France and Argentina's Lionel Scaloni should avoid the temptation to throw on a "penalty specialist" at the end of extra time - because it never works.

Data analyst Nielsen Gracenote looked at the relatively recent trend and found that of the seven players brought on at the end of extra time in the World Cup or European Championship to take a penalty, all seven missed, with five of their teams losing the shootout.

It first occurred at the 2006 World Cup, when England manager Sven Goran Eriksson decided that centre back Jamie Carragher's experience outweighed any potential technical flaw, but was proved wrong.

It was 10 years until it happened again, at Euro 2016, while three players came on for the job at last year's Euros and two at this year's World Cup.

It would appear that the positive aspect of bringing on a skilled finisher, someone a coach feels can deal with the pressure, is countered by the player having not touched a ball for two hours or more, most of that time spent sitting down.

"There's something referred to as the 'warm-up decrement' that is not so much about injury prevention but the degree of warm-up you would do before a motor-skill," Matt Miller-Dicks, Senior Lecturer in Skill Acquisition in the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Science at the University of Portsmouth, told Reuters.

"There is an analysis on this recently with the NBA and free throws where they found that where there was a set of double free throws, the success rate for the second throw was greater compared to the first and then equally in the case of any triple free throws the success rate increases with each successive throw.

"This points to the fact that for a specific skill like a penalty kick, if you've just come on as a sub you are less able to perform a motor skill with the same accuracy because you're less prepared."

 

 


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