WM 2022: Elfmeterschießen – kann man diesen Druck üben?
Spain coach Luis Enrique fell over a penalty kick debacle at this World Cup. Although his players should practice this pressure situation. But is that even possible? The figures speak against it, there is no panacea.
Sebastian Hochrainer and Christian Hornung
There was something historic about the fact that there was zero at the end. Spain lost 3-0 on penalties against African outsiders Morocco, only one other team in the history of the World Cup has been so bad: Switzerland experienced their summer nightmare in 2006 against Ukraine, Marco Streller, Tranquillo Barnetta and Ricardo Cabanas missed, the game back then in Cologne also ended 0:3.
Apparently no 1,000 penalties practiced
Now Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets failed to take on Morocco’s Bono and for Luis Enrique that had a history at those players’ clubs. They should all “practice 1,000 penalties”, the ex-national coach had given the pros as homework for their time with their clubs and one can take stock: homework apparently forgot – and failed the exam.
At this World Cup, however, the failure of the point is anything but an isolated case. There have been 32 penalties so far, and a staggering 19 of those have been missed. So only 61 percent were converted, normally the rate is around 76 percent. The pressure of elimination was of course extreme for the Spaniards, but before that Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski were among the misses in Qatar. It was also very bitter how miserable Japan did in the penalty shoot-out: three out of four shots – or rather “returns” – missed the target in the round of 16 against Croatia or landed on the hero of the evening, goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.
rule is explained again and again
Under the new rules, it would actually have been more likely that the success rate would increase. Penalties where goalkeepers move off their line before the shot is taken are retaken after VAR review. The referees still explain that to the goalkeepers before every penalty shoot-out or individual penalty kick in the game. Sports show expert Lutz Wagner admits: “It has really worn out.”
In the four highly interesting quarter-finals, which will be played in Qatar on Friday (December 9th, 2022) and Saturday (4 p.m. and 8 p.m., e.g. in the live ticker on sportschau.de), it is quite likely that the execution will again be explained several times must become.
Van Gaal sees an “advantage”, Germany is a role model
The Netherlands, for example, are already planning a penalty shoot-out against Argentina, at least that’s how Louis van Gaal’s words can be interpreted. He wants to avoid a déjá vu from 2014, when the Dutch failed from the point against Argentina. The Bonds coach: “You can’t simulate the pressure. But we can gain a small advantage by training penalties.”
In that case, van Gaal should look to Germany. The DFB teams are still the kings of penalty shootouts. There have been four shootouts so far after 120 minutes, four times Germany have gone into the next round. Of 18 penalties, 17 went into the goal – an unbelievable rate. Only Uli Stielike failed in 1982 against France.
Baggio had the right plan
From a German point of view, there were no big dramas. The most legendary penalty shoot-out was between Italy and Brazil in the final of the 1994 World Cup. Roberto Baggio, the then superstar of the “Squadra Azzurra”, failed as the last shooter, aiming far too high.
Baggio has done something that is otherwise particularly promising. In penalty shoot-outs, 74 percent of attempts go into a corner, whoever aims in the middle is 57 percent the winner in the duel between shooter and goalkeeper. And those who, like Baggio, tried to shoot into a corner and up were even more successful – they just aimed too high. The English BBC came to this conclusion in its analysis of all penalties before the World Cup in Qatar.
At best let a striker start
Accordingly, the hit probability also decreases the closer the decision is approached. Whoever is the first player to take a penalty sinks the ball in the goal 75 percent of the time, number two and three make it 73 percent, the fourth 64 percent and the fifth 65 percent. One explanation for this is that many teams now let their best shooters start.
By the way, these are mostly strikers. According to the BBC, it is not only the professionals who are responsible for the goals during the game, but also in the penalty shoot-out. Attackers score 75 percent of the time in this exceptional situation and use their experience in front of goal. It is 69 percent for midfielders and only 67 percent for defenders.
Substitutions for penalties bring absolutely nothing
Incidentally, the statisticians have also broken with a daring measure taken by some coaches. “Don’t be a late substitute,” is her theory put forward by the numbers. Professionals brought into play in the second half of an overtime are only 63 percent successful, the coach changes them in the last ten minutes, it still works 67 percent, with changes in the last five minutes, the measure is only 50 percent crowned with success.
Recent examples support this as well. Morocco won against Spain, but also had a miss in Badri Banoun – he came on in the 120th minute. It was even worse for the English at last year’s European Championship. Before the penalty shoot-out, Gareth Southgate also brought on Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford in the final minute, sending them both to the point and both failing. But England and penalties are one thing anyway.
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