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The longest running mystery in world football

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It has to do with these guessing games that goalkeepers have been playing for a long time when it comes to défending PK's.

Now I have to assume that the world goalkeeping intelligencia have compiled statistics over the décades that support the idéa that if a goalkeeper simply guesses where the ball is going to be, the odds of makeing a save, or winning an entire PK shootout is more likely than not.

However, from my point of view, something is just not right. Now I played youth sélect and High school soccer as a goalkeeper in the 1980's, but I do not remember any coach telling me to simply GUESS WHERE the ball is going to be, flop, and just hope that that IS WHERE the ball is going to be!  When I faced PK's, I simply played the ball like any other shot. And I stopped a few of them, and some of those were heading near me. These saves were not that difficult.

But here is what is difficult for me to wrap my head around. Alot of PK's that I saw when I played, and on TV up to the present time, were shots that entered the MIDDLE THIRD OF THE GOAL. HIGH OR LOW. And there is a goalkeeper laying on the ground looking like an _ _ _  clown, watching a very soft shot enter the net.

For a référence for this, I would like to draw your attention to the 2006 World Cup Final. It was the PK from the run of play. Zidane vs Buffon. My grandmother could have made that save! So why couldn't Buffon? This is not just 'Monday morning quarterbacking' here. He was lucky, this could have costed his team and his country the World Cup. The World Cup final is NOT a garden variety soccer game. And this is not the time or the place to look silly.

Now let me be clear, Buffon was the world number one for several years, and yes, things on the highest level of sports are easier said than done. No disrespect is intended. All courtesies are extended!

But, all other goalkeepers in similar and relative situations simply needed to take an extra half second to get a read on where that ball is going! Because alot of those balls are going to enter the middle third of the goal. That is where the goalkeeper is standing. And guess what, if they remain standing for that extra hall second they will make a save of relatively low difficulty.

The primary target zones for a PK shooter are the "four 90's". The four corners. If a PK enters one of these four targets at the requisite speed, a goalkeeper does not have a chance, and sometimes when he actually guesses right.

But there is good news for goalkeepers. It does not matter how talented or experienced the shooter is, they will not hit that target zone consistently. Why? Because they are under the same pressure that the goalkeeper is under. Who knows, if the goalkeeper can remember this in the heat of the moment, the GK might actually have the advantage.

So the moral of the story is, that the goalkeeper intelligencia might be wrong here. Perhaps if keepers play the ball instead of guessing, they may stop the most PK's, and win more PK shootouts!








Edited by Michael Varn

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I thought the renowned trick for saving penalties was looking at the players standing foot as he shoots, it faces the way he's shooting.

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