Taking the perfect penalty

Aiming a penalty kick into the top corner is a certain goal. But it takes nerves of steel to go for it.

Seven minutes into the 2006 World Cup final. France’s Zinedine Zidane chips a penalty just right of center. The ball hits the underside of the crossbar. Italy’s keeper, Gianluigi Buffon, having dived away
 to his right, looks on helplessly as the ball bounces behind the goal line and it’s 1-0 to France.

Blink and you’ll miss it! The spin made Zidane’s ball bounce back up onto the bar and out of the goal.

© Photo: Getty Images

Penalties - 3 facts - 1 question

1 Only one in every 15 World Cup goals comes via a penalty: to date, there have been 150 World Cup penalties in regular time.

2 The first shootout in a World Cup was the 1982 semifinal between West Germany and France. The former won. As they often do.

3 Last year, 83 percent of penalties taken were scored in the Premier League; 70 percent of those taken were scored in the World Cup.

? Why doesn’t the goalie just stay in the middle when facing a penalty? Because only one in 12 penalties is aimed there.

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06 2014 The Red Bulletin

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