July 03, 2006

What does it take to save penalties?: In contrast to England's Paul Robinson, who saved none of Portugal's spot-kicks, Lehmann saved two of Argentina's four and guessed correctly on the other two. However, guesswork had nothing to do with it.

posted by JJ to soccer at 06:31 AM - 17 comments

Actually, the best bit from those two links is that the Germans think England had Tony Robinson in goal. "I have a cunning plan..."

posted by JJ at 06:34 AM on July 03, 2006

"Ronaldo is eminently dislikeable: His catwalk good looks..." Who says the Germans don't have a sense of humour?

posted by Mr Bismarck at 07:07 AM on July 03, 2006

I think it's a mis-translation - the writer was referring to the view one has of a cat when it walks away.

posted by JJ at 07:48 AM on July 03, 2006

Amen. What's the fascination with his looks? To me, he looks like he's about twelve years old. If the football press wants to ogle him, that probably says more about the writers than it does about Ronaldo.

posted by psmealey at 09:15 AM on July 03, 2006

Slate recently ran this article on game theory and penalty kicks.

posted by aupa_athletic at 11:08 AM on July 03, 2006

You hear this in relation to other athletes too - Alex Rodriguez is the one that springs to my mind, commentators will say "there's that jealousy, he's so wealthy, so talented, so handsome". But I've never heard anyone at yankee stadium say "I hate that A-Rod, he's so bloody good looking". It's odd.

posted by jamesonandwater at 11:10 AM on July 03, 2006

psmealy - I think he started the talk himself when he started doing shit like this.

posted by JJ at 11:18 AM on July 03, 2006

I hate that A-Rod, he's so bloody good-looking. I'm still not sold on Lehmann as a top-tier keeper, but he made the Argentinians look like fools the other day. And I'm really surprised more coaches don't have (and use) tape to make these kinds of notes ono opposing players, especially in a situation like PKs where there aren't that many variables. Regardless, their preparation was excellent. Sometimes those German stereotypes work in your favor.

posted by chicobangs at 11:32 AM on July 03, 2006

I'm surprised that World Cup-quality players are so predictable with their penalty kicks. I thought they would be able to step to the ball and change their direction/intention in the last second - from looking to hammer it to one corner and then tapping it onto the other side - or be able to hit at least two corners. Or is that only something only guys like Zidane and Figo can do? Thanks for that second link.

posted by Philfromhavelock at 01:00 PM on July 03, 2006

I think the general wisdom on the art of penalty-taking is to pick a spot and stick with it. Clearly didn't work too well for England. It doesn't surprise me to hear that the Germans prepared so thoroughly for penalty shoot-outs. That's tantamount to cheating as far as us English are concerned.

posted by squealy at 02:54 PM on July 03, 2006

On the training pitch, it might be easy to change direction at the last minute, but I expect the pressure of spot kicks in a World Cup shootout is arse clenching. I reckon my 'tactic' would be to try and toe-poke it straight down the middle, safe in the knowledge that I'd probably hit it wrong and give the keeper no chance. If I didn't know where I was trying to kick it, he'd be very unlikely to know where it was going to end up. I use the same tactic when playing cards, mostly with the help of alcohol. I'm that drunk man your dad warned you never to play cards with.

posted by JJ at 04:50 PM on July 03, 2006

I take the spot kicks for the team I play on and I have three flavours, for those rare occasions in which we end up winning more than one in a game. The first one always goes in the same place, week after week. The first time I had one saved it bothered me for a week and that's in park football. In front of 250,000,000 people I'm definitely going for the penalty I'm confident in and five minutes of scouting would tell everyone where that's going. JJs idea might have some mileage to it. Although I suspect Chris Waddle tried it 16 years ago. If I was a goalie I'd be very visibly pulling a piece of paper from my sock in a world cup shoot out, even if the only thing it said was "Pick up milk on the way home." If the guy running up thinks I know where he's putting the kick, then I already have the advantage, even if I've actually no clue.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 05:26 PM on July 03, 2006

Am I the only one thinking of Palombella Rossa right now?

posted by qbert72 at 06:52 PM on July 03, 2006

Carragher (who was brought on late supposedly as a penalty taker) took his first one before the whistle and kicked it high and to his right (Ricardos left). Once the ref sorted out the confusion and Carragher went to take the second one, he went low and to his left. He obviously had different strategies, but what balls shown by Ricardo to guess correctly.

posted by Ricardo at 07:23 PM on July 03, 2006

I hate that A-Rod, he's so bloody good-looking.
Luis Figo via Check these stats.

posted by geekyguy at 11:29 PM on July 03, 2006

Along with Italy's Gennaro Gattuso, Figo is one of the international footballers who would make awesome pirates. I've noticed far fewer pirates this tournament, after a 2002 World Cup that looked a lot like the Black Pearl had run aground in Tokyo Bay.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 03:23 AM on July 04, 2006

gg - quality stats link - thanks.

posted by JJ at 04:41 AM on July 04, 2006

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