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7.10.2011

Penalties in soccer tournaments 

As far as I can tell, if a soccer match has to be decided by penalty kicks, many teams (men's and women's teams, club and national teams) simply ask for volunteers when filling out the lineup.

Call me naive, but I can't see how this is in any way optimal, either technically or psychologically. In this year's Womens' World Cup, the England side followed in the footsteps of the men's side by losing a shootout, and afterward the coach blasted the team in the press because nobody stepped up to volunteer for a penalty. In contrast, one of the coaches for the USA women's side watches the players take penalties in practice and picks the lineup from the available players accordingly.

Really, I can't see how asking for volunteers can possibly accomplish anything other than letting the players psych themselves out, and I'm shocked that teams at the highest levels of the sport do this.

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