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This article was first published 1 year ago  » Sports » What France, Argentina must do if final goes to penalties

What France, Argentina must do if final goes to penalties

December 17, 2022 22:56 IST
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Beware the penalty specialist if final goes to shootout


IMAGE: Argentina's Emiliano Martinez makes a save. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters

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.

Hugo Iloris

IMAGE: France keeper Hugo Lloris has not been tested in this tournament. Photograph: Gareth Bumstead/Reuters

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."

The less than magnificent shootout seven:

Jamie Carragher, England v Portugal, 2006 World Cup quarter-final. England lost 3-1.

Carragher came on in the 119th minute in place of winger Aaron Lennon and took England's fourth penalty after both teams had already missed two and Carragher needed to score to make it 2-2. His poor shot was easily saved by Ricardo and Cristiano Ronaldo scored the next penalty to send Portugal through.


Simone Zaza, Italy v Germany, Euro 2016, quarter-final. Italy lost 6-5.

Zaza came on in the 121st minute for Giorgio Chiellini. Taking Italy's second penalty after both teams had scored their first, Zaza took about 15 knee-pumping steps on the spot before hammering the ball over the bar. It went to nine penalties each before Germany won.


Rodri Spain v Switzerland, Euro 2020 quarter-final. Spain won 3-1.

Rodri came on in the 119th minute for Pedri and took Spain's third penalty after each team had missed one. Rodri sent his shot to Yann Sommer's left but not far enough and he saved it.

However, Switzerland missed their third and fourth penalties while Spain scored both of their next two to win 3-1.


Marcus Rashford, England v Italy, Euro 2020 final. England lost 3-2.

Rashford came on at Wembley with Jadon Sancho in the 120th minute for Kyle Walker and Jordan Henderson. With the score 2-2 in the shootout, but with Italy having missed one, England had the advantage. Yet Rashford, after a stuttering run-up, sent his effort against the left-hand post.=

Sancho, England v Italy, Euro 2020 final. England lost 3-2.

After Rashford's miss, Italy scored to go 3-2 up. Sancho clipped his effort to Gianluigi Donnarumma's left but well within reach and it was saved. Italy missed their fifth attempt, which left Bukayo Saka with the chance to keep the shootout going but his was also saved and Italy were European champions.=

Pablo Sarabia, Spain v Morocco, World Cup 2022, last 16. Spain lost 3-0.

Sarabia was a 118th minute replacement for Nico Williams and although he was brought on for the penalty shootout, he nearly won the match when he hit the right post with the last kick of extra time. Fresh from that near miss he took Spain's first penalty, but hit it against the other post.


Badr Benoun, Morocco v Spain, World Cup 2022, last 16. Morocco win 3-0.

In the same shootout Benoun came on for Azzedine Ounahi in the 120th minute. He took the third penalty for Morocco with his team leading 2-0 after Spain had missed both of theirs. He didn't seem to connect properly and his softly-struck shot was easily saved by Unai Simon. His disappointment was short-lived, however, as Sergio Busquets made it three misses out of three for Spain, leaving Achraf Hakimi to score and send Morocco into the quarter-finals.

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