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July 2021

Who Took The Worse Penalty: Giroud or Özil?

Who Took The Worse Penalty This Week: Giroud or Özil?

By Bootoomee

Two penalties were taken. Both were taken in the same way except Giroud placed it to the right while Özil went left. Both were low placement kicks with Özil’s being farther to the left than Giroud’s was to the right. Both tried to send the keeper the wrong way. One succeeded while the other failed.

Ricky Lambert said recently: “Penalty kicks are not complicated, just place the ball on the spot and kick it well”. This is not the exact quote but I have written the core of his point. One of the reasons why many (often gifted) players miss penalties is over-thinking and being too fancy.

Penalty taking is probably the strangest footballing activity. It is, in my opinion, the easiest (as in requires the least effort) while usually having the most dramatic outcome.

I was a pretty poor footballer in my youth. I was never good at the game despite my best efforts. That fact is one of my life regrets. What I would have given to be described as a mediocre footballer! But one area that I excelled in was penalty taking. I used to enjoy the end of our “set” of games when we’d just have one-on-one penalty shoot outs, with the players also being the goalkeepers. I belong to Ricky Lambert school of thought when it comes to penalties: kick it as hard and as far away from the goalkeeper as possible.

But let’s quickly go back to Giroud and Özil’s penalty kicks and the problem with them both. Every time a penalty taker kicks the ball low and within 2 metres of the goalkeeper, I wince. Every time I hear match commentators say: “he sent the keeper the wrong way”, I think to myself: “no, he was lucky that the player went the wrong way”. The same goes when goalies are showered with praise for saving penalties when they have only gone the “right way”.   If you are  familiar with my writing know my opinion on luck and its influence on success in football and virtually everything in life. There is no aspect of football where luck plays a bigger role than in penalty shoot outs.

For anyone in doubt, may I remind you that Chelsea won the Champions’ league in the same season when they finished below Newcastle United in the Premier League! Giroud was lucky with his kick while Özil was unlucky with his.

There are basically two ways of taking penalties. There is the Ricky Lambert way, which is about force and precision; and the “tricky or cheeky” way, which is about “sending the keeper the wrong way”, lobbing over the keeper and other tricky skills. The latter is favoured by flair players and many of them have perfected it to devastating effects. Less skilful, or more appropriately, no-nonsense players prefer the former.

Both methods have their merits and flaws. Tricky penalty kicks are a joy to behold when they come off. The problem is that they don’t always come off. And when they don’t, the taker always looks like a mug while probably feeling worse. Forceful and precise penalties on the other hand are bland to watch and they could also come off the post or go wide. But they mostly go in.

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By calculation of chance, the forceful penalty is better than the tricky one. Penalties taken with pace and placed as far away from the goalie as possible but not too close to the goal post are the best because they go in all the time. Smashing the ball into the top right or left corner is also brutally effective with the same drawback.

Personally, I prefer the forcefully and precisely taken penalty and not just because they are more likely to go in but because their misses are usually easier to stomach and the taker looks less silly. While the effect is never less devastating (depending on what’s at stake), it’s a little easier to let go of a penalty that come off the post or misses the target by a few inches. I know how mad I get when the keeper goes the right way and the ball bounces off his chest or he just grabs the lobbed ball. In the end, the objective is to get the ball into the net. Beautiful penalties don’t count double and bland ones don’t count for 0.5 of a goal.

Forceful and precise penalties require conviction. Conviction comes from practice. Penalties like this require lots of practice in order to be able to get it right every time.

Ricky Lambert’s unblemished record gives the impression that despite his modesty, he practices his kicks. He reminds me (and I am sure, the many Naija Gooners reading this) of the late Nigerian legendary striker: Rashidi Yekini. He was also reputed to have never missed a penalty. His style was power and precision. Conversely, another Nigerian great that we are all familiar with, Nwankwo Kanu, is notorious for missing penalty kicks! He, as we all know, is a flair player. No other player epitomises the folly of tricky penalty kicks more than Kanu. Many of his misses were just plain embarrassing.

But back to Özil and Giroud’s penalties and the debate that they have generated, I think Özil played the better penalty because it was farther from the goalkeeper than Giroud’s. Mandanda had to stretch to stop it. Had it been hit with more force, it might have gone in and would then be classified as great by the same people criticising him. Olly was fortunate that Boruc went the wrong way as the ball would have bounced off his chest if he had guessed right. His penalty against Fenerbahce at Istanbul on the other hand, is the real deal.

The point of this piece is not to knock Giroud or kiss Özil’s butt. I almost trademarked the phrase: “I feel good about Giroud” during pre-season when many were salivating over Higuain. I have also commented against the talking point that Arsenal’s season has only been going well because of Özil. I love both players as I do anyone who wears the Arsenal shirt. Being revisionist in order to over praise flukey achievements while knocking unfortunate errors is where I differ from most. Özil’s penalty loss was partially tempered by the fact that it shouldn’t have been in the first place. We were spared the unnecessary tag of “controversial” being attached to our well earned victory.

My hope is that we continue to get our deserved penalties in all competitions and that they regularly get smashed in with power and precision.

The books…

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44 comments to Who Took The Worse Penalty: Giroud or Özil?

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    We should also remember that the keeper for the Ozil penalty was not on his line when it was taken and, as such the kick should have been re-taken.

    I do agree with you though. If a penalty is taken to any of the four corners of the goal with a reasonably degree of force it is virtually impossible to save and all Arsenal players should be capable of mastering the technique, after all they can all pass the ball to each other at better than 75% accuracy. Just imagine one of your team mates in the appropriate position and “ping” the pass to that position – simples!?

  • Shakabula Gooner

    The best penalty spot is the chest level at the mid point between the two posts. That is, where the keeper’s chest will be if he were standing at the mid point between the posts and if he didn’t move at all after the penalty taker kicks the ball. It is extremely difficult and would seem foolish of the keeper not to crouch or move one way or the other after the ball is kicked.

    Boo, don’t worry about the supreme confidence with which I have written this. I never played the game to any level of competence either. Not even the “set” common in , you know where. I was basically a nerd who, nonetheless, loved to watch the game and whose later engineering background caused him to wander to some length the question of where best to kick the ball to, in a penalty.

    I must say though that Ozil’s penalty was atrocious due to Ozil’s zero run up – as run ups offer some opportunity to frighten and to deceive the keeper. He didn’t also try to feign he had the mind to put the ball nor did he hit with power. Personally, unless he changes his system and combines more guile with the accuracy he is known for, he will be among the last penalty takers in my “set” team.


    Bootoomee, You bring up a lot of good points. I have always thought that a penalty kick with pace gives you a better chance to score. The further from the keeper the better. I also like a smash down the middle about five feet high or into the corners around the same height. Don’t know why more penalties aren’t taken like that. Keepers always dive low and guess left or right. Maybe players are afraid of putting the ball over the bar such as Roberto Baggio did at the World Cup in 1994. I feel with enough practice that shouldn’t happen too often.

  • Shakabula Gooner,

    You know I know where 🙂 And despite being poor at the game, I really enjoyed playing football. Although I always get chosen last in the “set” games. You and I may not be so different though with myself having my first degree in Engineering. I’ll describe myself as a “jock who sucked at sports” (apologies to Bart Simpson 🙂 )

    Got to agree with you on Ozil’s lack of guile on the way to take the penalty. I guess he was aiming for accuracy over guile. Mandanda coming off his line did not help Ozil as Andrew Crawshaw stated above.

    Agree with you about kicking the ball straight ahead at chest level. Yes, it works every time. Rooney scored one like that less than an hour ago from Mike Dean’s gift against the Middlesex Scum.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    May I add that the better shot to best best penalty spot should be a fierce. A chip is cheeky and fun if successful but risky.
    May I also add that even though it is the best penalty spot a player must have a few other options because if the opponent keeper has studied your video often enough his educated guess will give him an edge over you.


    That Roberto Baggio penalty miss is the stuff that nightmares are made off. He was aiming for the top right corner. That is the drawback as I stated.

    Agree with you and Shakabula Gooner about the chest level straight through penalties. But I think if more penalties are taken that way, then goalies will start standing their grounds more thereby reducing the effectiveness. I don’t think goalies have any remedy for forceful kicks that are close to the post though.

  • Mick

    One of the main problems is that the more pace you hit the ball with inevitably results in greater chance of less accuracy. That is why the ‘power blasters’ of the ball generally aim straight down the middle as that means less margin for error. Lampard often uses this method which to my mind id the most likely to yield consistent results.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Juicy loss for Loserpool!
    Hull will get back to their losing ways when they visit the Emirates on Wed night.

  • Cracking read Bootoomee, some good points, well written, – enjoyed it. 🙂

  • Gf60

    Sorry Boo, I have to disagree; the Wiz’s penalty (let’s forget it shouldn’t have been a penalty and that it should have been retaken)was a lot worse than Olly’s. Mandana had not only advanced off his line, but he’d moved to his left AND his knees bent towards the left as well. 15 yards of goal on the right side and the keeper going the wrong way…no ways should Mersut have missed. But we’ll forgive him…anyone who can place the ball on the 5p piece stuck on Rambo’s forehead and also play that pass through to the Flamster yesterday deserves a mistake or two.

  • Percy

    Leaving the ref aside, what on earth was that goal-line official doing? He’s standing next to the post loking straight at the goalkeeper who advances halfway up the goal area: appalling decision making.

  • bjtgooner

    Nice write up.

    My preference would always be to have a penalty taken with plenty of power, rather than be based on deception. However, having never played as a professional I am not really in a good position to comment.

  • para

    If penalty takers think too much, and you can usually see it when they do, they invariably miss. Just like when players are not sure what to do with the ball when the opposing player approaches, they tend to lose it too. So it looks like make up your mind what you are going to do, and stick with it, seems to be more chance of success then.
    Anyway, two must win matches, Hull and Everton before Manc away, who are going to lose their unbeaten home record then. City play CL on Tues and we on Wed AND its an early KO too, so we need to keep Napoli quiet early.
    Looking forward to the pundit’s faces that weekend.
    Have you heard the latest mantra by the pundits?
    Who ever finishes above ManC will win the PL. I sometimes wonder at the dribble that comes out of their mouths, but this is “awesome dribble”, ergo looking forward to the pundit’s faces on 14th.
    Forward gunners and gooners alike.

  • para,

    The goal post is ever shifting, isn’t it. It’s all good though. No winner emerges till May 2014 or till their lead becomes mathematically insurmountable. As long as we keep collecting the Cardiff like points while they keep dropping such, we’ll be victorious in the end.

  • Pete

    I believe, historically, 70% of penalties are scored.

    I used to take them for my amateur team – think I had 13 out of 14 by the end (although since missed a couple in shoot outs in vets charity games…). I used to take a long run headed towards the centre right of the goal (as I saw it) then hit it firmly (right footed) to the right side of the goal – having looked at the other corner as I ran in to deceive the keeper.

    Apparently you get more power if you swing across the ball slightly (i.e. to the right footer’s left side) – but, of course, there is a higher chance of scuffing it if you hit across the line.

    Top professionals should be able to hit it reliably into any of the four corners.

    The problem is – for pro’s and amateurs alike – is that most of penalty taking is in the head!

  • Florian

    I remember having read various articles on this theme. In Soccernomics, it is argued that penalties are taken about 54% of the time towards the player’s natural side, and that keepers have good chances of punching the ball out if they dive towards that side, provided they studied their opponents’ penalty taking patterns. A bit of “know your enemy”, I guess. Ribery for instance is very difficult to read since he doesn’t even know where he’s going to shoot until he kicks the ball.

    By the laws of physics combined with human biology, if the penalty is taken with a speed of 90+ kph, the keeper has no chance of reaching it in time unless he dives before the ball is kicked, and the ball is aimed close enough. Joel Bats made such an experiment many years ago, and he was only able to parry 2 out of 10 penalties when abiding to the letter of the law. Also reminds me of Del Piero, who was kicking the ball hard and high in the upper left corner, where the keeper had no chance in the world to reach it.

    It is also argued that 80% of the time a penalty shot is directed parallel to the player’s standing foot. Giroud was able to overcome this when he took his penalty, which gives him points in my view. The Dutch Traitor was often doing this. The reason for this pattern is that it’s natural, and trying to shoot at a different angle with reference to the standing foot leads to unpredictable results. Unless you get specific training, of course:)

  • WalterBroeckx

    In Belgium we have Anderlecht who is by far the best team since the second world war (winning 1 title in every 2 years on average).
    Supporters of other teams call them sometimes PenAnderlecht because they get a ridiculous amount of penalties in every season.
    But since last season something has gone wrong. Their conversion rate is something around 36% and they keep on missing penalty after penalty.
    They got 19 penalties last season and missed 12 of them.
    It’s all inside your head….

  • Damilare

    Good read Bootoomee.
    Spot on about Ye-king and Kanu. It’s generally believed that Rashidi doesn’t mind if the goal keeper guesses and moves correctly towards the direction of the ball: ”catch it if you can” he always seems to say. The keepers that have touched Yekini’s penalty kicks at all only managed to parry the ball into the net. So I am for the force and accurate kicks.
    As for Kanu, we call him ‘slow/cool poison’ I think that reflects in his penalty kicks. That however did not diminish his legendary status.
    I played street football as a very good goalkeeper (no goal posts, two small stones only, so high ball wasnt attractive). Then we believed that a player (force or flair) has a particular spot in mind before he kicks the ball and that for a split microseconds, he looks at that direction. So street football intelligence says fix your gaze on the player as he is coming to place the ball bown. Althought the same street intelligence tells the player too to look at the opposite direction to confuse the keeper. So success largely depends on who is street wiser and luck.
    Another trick was to shift a little to your weak side as a keeper, tempting the player to perceive your faulty position and thereby play the ball to your stronger side.
    Does any of these street tips have any relevance in professional football Bootoomee, anybody?

  • GoingGoingGooner

    When taking penalties, if going for a corner, I aimed at the back corner which from the penalty spot gave a foot or so leeway to avoid the post. We were also coached to aim higher on a wet pitch, lower on a rock hard pitch.

  • Gord

    I will side with the people that take strong shots just inside the post.

    We are 12 yard off the line, and the furthest spot on the woodwork from the penalty spot are the two upper corners at about 12.9 yards. Strongest penalty shot I have memorized was Lothar Matthäus at 75 mph (which 36.6666667 yards per second). If the ball was instantaneously at speed, it is 0.35 seconds from the penalty spot to the goal line. Of course, it takes some time to bring the ball up to speed. Playing with some numbers, it looks like an acceleration of about 400 yards per second squared and a contact time of around 70 milliseconds gets a ball at least close to 36 yards per second speed. So, our ball takes 350+70 (or so) milliseconds to cross the goal line.

    The goalie can’t move until the ball moves. Does the ball start to move when the foot makes contact with the ball from behind, or when the front of the ball starts to move towards the goal? So we have some ambiguity here.

    Wikipedia suggests that at the highest trained level, the time it takes to note a visual clue is about 120 milliseconds, which means the ball is already 1/3 of the way to the goal line when the brain can start acting. Goalie still needs to start moving. Florian’s 90 kph is 27+ yd/s, or 0.47 seconds to the goal line. And a player need not even try to hide where they are aiming. It isn’t possible for a goaltender to stop a ball just inside the uprights without cheating.

    I don’t think a person has to hit the ball as hard as you can, I think even a 3/4 struck ball is still to fast to save legally.

    If a person was to put up a target, I think most players could hit the target at the professional level, bullseye every time. The problem is, there is no target. We want the ball to travel say 9 inches inside the uprights. And if we concentrate on the post, what is likely to happen, is that we hit the post. The person taking the penalty needs to invent a target, so they can hit it.

    It’s like driving a car that has lost traction. Don’t look at the telephone pole that you might hit, you will drive right into it. Look to the side of the pole to drive around it.

  • AL

    A penalty is a bit like a coin toss, and a lot of it is down to luck. Of course art comes into it but only to a certain extent, a lot of it is luck.That’s why the best players in the world don’t usually have a much better chance of scoring than a plodder from a Sunday pub team. Having said that I think one player who has mastered the art of taking the perfect penalty was Ronaldinho. He places his penalty into the side netting,but on the inside, and at chest level. I don’t think it’s possible to save that penalty, regardless of which keeper it is. As a result he doesn’t care if the keeper goes the right way, he always scores if he gets it right.

  • I decided to write this piece because I was not happy with the criticisms that Ozil was getting over the missed kick last Tuesday. I read some pseudo analysis giving kudos to Giroud for his “well taken” penalty. My opinion on both is already in the about 1,200 words above but I must say that the comments have taken the topic to a whole new dimension. Kudos fellas!


    As a proper Mushin boy, I hear you loud and clear 🙂 I don’t really like the idea of trying to deceive the keeper. Just kick as hard and as close to the post as possible. As Gord analysed, even if the keeper guess right, the ball would be in before he could reach it. Although I have utmost respect for professional footballers (probably because I sucked so much at the game), I don’t think that penalty kicks are complicated at all. Like everything else that one wants to get good at, it requires training and regular practice. Unlike other aspects of the game, I don’t think it requires that much talent, if any at all.

  • AL

    We debated some time ago,with my brother, why penalties are unfair. He was saying the penalty should be taken by the person that got fouled for the penalty, because the interpretation is he was denied a goal scoring opportunity, so a penalty should be seen as giving the fouled player back the goal scoring opportunity they would have been denied. By letting someone else take the penalty you’re giving an unfair advantage to the other team. I didn’t agree with him at the time but now I think he was right. I think that’s what they do in basketball anyway.

  • AL @10.40pm,

    With your Ronaldhino example, welcome to team Precision 🙂

    You know my position on luck but I think you need luck more if you are trying to send the keeper the wrong way. If you are hitting it hard and close to the post, or taking it Ronaldhino style, you need less luck. You need precision.

  • Gord

    Mushin? It can’t be what Wikipedia is saying.

    Although in the context of taking or trying to save a penalty, I can see it having meaning.

    When I was playing goal (mostly mid 30’s), I didn’t dive for the posts (with both arms). I “reached” for the post, one arm and one leg (doing the splits).

  • AL

    Just noticed my avatar had changed, and was wondering why. I then looked at my email address, and noticed my phone had auto corrected my email address name to something else 🙂 Guess it’s time to recharge the batteries….

  • Gord

    Mushin – Mushin (無心; Japanese mushin; English translation “no mind”) is a mental state into which very highly trained martial artists are said to enter during combat. [ snip ] The term is shortened from mushin no shin (無心の心), a Zen expression meaning the mind without mind and is also referred to as the state of “no-mindness”. That is, a mind not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion and thus open to everything.

  • AL

    Oh yes Bootoomee, it’s either luck or precision. I think the biggest thing is getting it right and pulling it off each time.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Let us take Arteta as the penalty taker then 😉 He usually tries to place them in the corner

  • Gord,

    Mushin is a suburb of the city of Lagos in Nigeria. One of the toughest parts of one of the toughest African cities. Kind of like Brooklyn to New York or Compton to LA. I was born and raised there. Damilare gets my reference although I’m not sure of his part of Yorubaland.,_Nigeria

    Not a very flattering description by wiki but true all the same.

  • Gord


    That’s a statistical analysis? Oh well. It may have been time consuming for them to figure out where each ball passed the plane of the goal line. If I add 3+3+3 and then divide by 3 to find the average (which is 3), did I do a statistical analysis? (When I go to analyse things, I want thousands of data points if at all possible.) But, thanks for pointing it out.


    I will guess that all goals scored in the vertical third of the goal, were the result of the goaltender diving one way or another, probably before the ball was kicked.

    I don’t like the analysis. I think the grid they picked was largely done so on the basis of keeping each of the 9 areas the same size.

    A soccer ball is nominally 9 inches in diameter, add a third more and we get 12 inches. The goal is 8 foot by 24 feet, or 192 square feet. So, each of the sub areas of the ProZone analysis is 21.333333333333333 square feet.

    I would redo the analysis for 24 equal sized zones. I would have an 1 foot wide by 8 foot tall zone just inside of each post. The remaining zones would be 2 foot wide by 4 feet tall (2 rows of them) filling the center of the net. And I would divide the analysis into 2: does the goaltender cheat and move early, or not.

    If the goalie does not move early, the 4 zones in the middle (where the goalie is standing to begin with) get 0 goals.

    And unless the goalie severely cheats, those 2 zones at the inside of the posts that are 8 foot tall, 100% of those score. I don’t think even a Mike Riley influenced referee would allow a save to be recorded should a strongly taken penalty shot hit either of those locations. The goaltender has to cheat to get to them.

    I think good goalies approach the tie breaking process of shots taken from the penalty spot as different than a penalty taken during regular play. Rebounds are treated differently.

  • OMGArsenal

    The penalty kick is simply an direct free kick from a pre-determined spot inside the penalty area. Therefore ANY onfield player has the right to take the kick, same as outside the penalty area. Nothing unfair about that.

    Most keepers, realizing that a well-struck ball will usually arrive before they can, will decide to dive to one side or the other, all the while trying to distract or beat the shooter by a millisecond or two. Few keepers will take the time to read about every potential shooter and fewer still will really watch the shooter’s eyes or whatever. They’ll have the eye on the entire player, and will dive to their right or left depending on their intuition…mostly a gamble. My guess is that at least 25% of keepers are either off their line or in movement along their line before the whistle is blown. The area they have to cover is 8ft.x24ft. which is a total of 192 ft2…the equivalent of a cargo container on a 8 wheel lorry….most keepers are 6ft+ and about 4ft. wide (arms outstretched) so that is 24ft.sq coverage…in other words, they would need 8 keepers to cover every open space in the goal! The fact that 28% of penalties are missed (saved or off target) testif1es to the lack of proper preparation (both mental and skill-wise)that 1/4 of the shooters suffer from. Most professional teams repeatedly train for every situation other than penalties, where they do a little preparation BUT never enough. How many professional teams during the warmups actually take penalties? Almost none….yet on average every 2nd EPL game has at least one penalty. Says it all n’est-ce-pas?

  • OMGArsenal

    I neglected to mention that the officials too often fail to do their job in at least 1 of every 8 penalties taken (from my observations) and that this is due to a certain laziness and indifference to applying the Laws firmly and fairly. It is hard and risky to order a retake and it is very complicated to remember the punishment if the keeper moved, if an opponent entered before the kick, if a teammate entered, if the shooter touched the ball twice, if the shooter misdirected the keeper by a feaint, etc. Much simpler and safer to close one’s eyes and say….great penalty now lets get back to the easier part of the game. Imagine a PGMOL referee having the nerve to reorder a penalty against United with SAF watching…as far as I know it never happened.

  • mk

    @Gord, They’ve collected a relatively large sample of penalties and calculated the percentages saved vs missed vs scored in each section of a 3 by 3 grid so it does count as a statistical analysis. I’m sure there are others that go into more detail, but this one answers the question originally asked in an easily understood manner (and was the first one I found the link for).

    Ie where the statistically most likely place that players will convert penalties is:

    “The three-step guide to a statistically perfect penalty:

    – Medium-length run-up from the edge of the area

    – Hit with power

    – Aimed at the bottom left corner”

  • Gord


    You are happy with smaller data sets than I am.

    I lean on statistical mechanics a lot. If I get 100 counts in a “bin”, I am expecting that the standard deviation to those counts is some multiplier times sqrt(100) = 10, unless I can find some better way of judging accuracy. I doubt that they gathered enough data to have 100 shots through any of their grid cells, but maybe one or two of the cells were a bit over 100 counts. Fine, call all of them 100 shots. The error is expected to be some unknown multiplier times 0.1 times the counts observed. What’s the multiplier? We don’t know. But I suspect, that most of the count rates they observed, were statistically the same. And hence, they should not publish them as being different.

    Supposedly they are professionals (certainly they charge PGMOL), that is not a professional report.

  • mk

    @Gord Sorry I now get your point, I had misread it and thought they were using all the carling cup and champions league data rather than just part of one year of it (which would surely have made a more reasonable sample size).

    I think their results echo what I have read previously (from research with larger sample sizes) with the bottom left corner being the most successful corner and more saves coming in the bottom right corner and lower middle section of the goal.

  • ARSENAL 13


    Your post took me back a decade, when I played the game (amateur level) as a keeper.
    Some info: I was, at best, an average keeper. I coudnt kick the ball properly. But my team thought I was a good shot stopper and was good in the air, well I preferred to believe them. And our defense was so good that they made me look class. In my last ever competition, we conceded only one goal in 8 games, and the final went to a penalty shootout.

    Now to the point. 90% of the time during penalty a keeper will have decided which way to go before the taker has even moved. It depends on the direction of his run usually. The best penalty as per me is the ones that are directed towards the front corners(bottom and top) of the goal. The chances of saving those, even though you go in the right direction is almost zero.

    As a goalie we had a few practices, mind games, to pressurize the takers. But the fact is we are the ones under pressure as it is dive and hope for us. I used to give my opponent a cold look as if I were to eat him alive…..

    Last season Giroud signaled Szczesny (during a penalty in Montepellier game) which way to dive. Szczesny went the opposite way and conceded. I too had a midfielder who would signal me which side to go. And boy he was right most of the time.

    One thing I think Szczesny does wrong is he wastes a precious few milliseconds by doing a shimmy. Even if he goes the right side after doing the shimmy, he is a bit late to the path of the ball….

  • Damilare

    @ Gord, Hope you have an idea of Mushin now as Bootoomee rightly explained?

    @Bootoomee, I grew up in Ibadan but Im working in Lagos now. You will agree with me that street football is common place all over Nigeria. Nowadays, school fields are better alternatives.

    Still on penalty kicks. Do we have prolific penalty savers just as we have prolific penalty takers like Ronaldinho as Al pointed? In 1987 or thereabout, Peter Rufai saved a spot kick from an Algerian player (Beloumi I think). The ball was fast and destined for what we called angle 90 (top corner) then. That day I decided if I would play football, I must be a keeper. Well, I was a keeper only on the street.
    @ Arsenal 13, I agree with you totally on Szczesny. His shimmy works in open play better.

  • Gord


    Some, not a lot. Do you see how the Zen philosophy of Mushin fits into this? Or am I just imagining things?

    Have a great day!

  • Florian

    This was not a prolific penalty saver, but it still remained in the history as one of the most famous penalty keeping moments: In the 1986 EC Cup Final between Steaua Bucharest and FC Barcelona, the game went to penalties. Steaua was the first to shoot, missed the first two kicks and eventually won by 2-0. Steua’s goalkeeper Helmuth Duckadam parried all the 4 penalty kicks. All of them were on goal, most of them close to the edge, the closest to the center was somewhere low half-distance between the keeper and his left post (attacker’s right).

  • Gord,

    Until you mentioned it here and provided a wikipedia link, I did not even know that Mushin has a different meaning. I think my explanation of what Mushin (Nigeria) means, especially with provision of examples of similar North American cities’ suburbs should make it clear enough.

    I really don’t care for martial arts so the Japanese mushin while I agree that it may be useful for penalty kicks, is not really my sort of thing.

    Arsenal 13,

    Welcome to Team Precision 🙂

  • El Gringo

    I think teams should spend a lot more time practicing penalties, especially near the end of cup competitions. One thing every basketball coach will say is that endless repetition of a routine helps you make your free throws. I would always bounce the ball twice, spin it in my hands, take a long, slow breath, then shoot. If I messed up the routine, I nearly always missed the shot. If penalty takers (including the five who will take in a shoot-out) have an established routine, they should convert much more regularly, because the mental aspect won’t be nearly as bad.