The science of penalty kicks. Sven, are you paying attention at the back?

Here's a thing: In World Cup Finals dating back to 1982, the penalty-kick success rate ranges from 73% (1990) to 80% (1998 – incidentally, that was the year after FIFA changed the law to allow goalkeepers to move along the goal-line). I don't have the stats to hand (any Stattos out there?) but I'd imagine that for England this success rate is much lower…

The science of penalty kicks. Sven, are you paying attention at the back? cont…

So what is it with England and penalty kicks? Even in this season's FA Cup final, Englishmen proved rubbish from the spot, with less than 50% hitting the target: Steven Gerrard and Teddy Sheringham scored; Anton Ferdinand, Bobby Zamora and Paul Konchesky all fu*ked up.

I think that there's something in every English footballer's psyche that is scarred by previous penalty failures. In recent times, the only Englishmen who have been any good at pens have been Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Matt Le Tissier. I trusted them, but no one else really.

Perhaps Sven should instruct his team to just BLAST the ball. A study in biomechanics done by Bath University in 2004 resulted in the oh-so-scientific conclusion: Hit the ball as hard as possible.

Their research indicated that a penalty struck at more than 20 metres-per-second (roughly 46 miles per hour) stands a greater chance of hitting the back of the net than a slower one, as a goalkeeper has less time to react. Like, duh!