The Perfect Penalty

Here’s a timely reminder of how to cope with one of the world’s worst events. It usually only lasts about 15 minutes but it can affect the rest of your life.

In some places in our world this event seems to recur every 4 years or so – often with devastating results. It is –

The Penalty Shootout.

Italy penalty missWith a lot of help from Google and the BBC website we’ve found some vital aids to ease the anguish. So, for the next 3 days, here’s the Resource Angel guide to surviving Football’s Armageddon – the Penalty Shootout.


First up, in June 2006 BBC News Channel published this article about penalties in football

Science discovers the perfect penalty

England’s bid for World Cup glory could be boosted by scientists who claim to have discovered the formula for the perfect penalty.

Experts at Liverpool John Moores University have sent their findings to the England boss (At the time of the article it was Sven-Goran Eriksson).

Factors involved in their calculations include the number of steps in run-up, time taken to kick the ball, velocity of shot and position of striking foot.

beckhamThe formula to remember in a shoot-out is (((X+Y+S)/2)x((T+I+2B)/4))+(V/2)-1.

This was calculated after analysing England’s penalties at major tournaments since 1962.

The scientists found their perfect penalty was Alan Shearer’s spot-kick against Argentina in the second round of the World Cup in 1998 – a match England lost…. on penalties.

Dr David Lewis, a mathematician who developed the formula, said: “Until now penalty taking has been described as a lottery – one that England have bought a ticket to but lost when it mattered. We would advise lots of practice for the England squad using these guidelines, and maybe we can lift the curse.”

The scientists found the ideal velocity for the ball to be 25-29 metres per second and the ideal number of steps in a run-up to be four to six – but a long run-up of 10m is the least successful.

The ideal time to take the penalty is three seconds or less and while waiting for the goalkeeper to move before striking the ball helps the chances of success, if a player waits more than 0.41 milliseconds, chances of scoring are halved.

The study was commissioned by bookmakers Ladbrokes which were offering odds of 3/1 that England are defeated on penalties during the 2006 World Cup.





V          Velocity of ball once struck

         Time between placing ball on spot and striking ball

         Number of steps in run-up

          Time ball is struck after goalkeeper initiatives dive

Y          Vertical placement of ball from ground

X          Horizontal placement of ball from centre

B          Striking position of foot


Next – The Unsaveable Zone

The original article can be found at

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