The Art of the Penalty: David Preece and Kevin Kilbane break it down

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The Art of the Penalty: David Preece and Kevin Kilbane break it down


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It goes without saying that England's record when it comes to penalty shootouts at major tournaments is decidedly dodgy.

Only once have they managed to emerge victorious - against Spain at Euro 96 - but otherwise have exited the World Cups of 1990, 1998 and 2006 as well as the European Championships of 1996, 2004 and 2012 after penalty shootout defeats.

In an attempt to overturn their poor record, England will look to overhaul their penalty shootout preparation methods after their Under-17 setup shared findings from their own experimentation. 

Some of the changes include how players walk up to the penalty spot and deciding the order of penalty takers pre-match. 

To get into the psychology of penalty shootouts from either sides of the penalty spot, our own Kevin Kilbane - who took a penalty for Ireland in the shootout defeat to Spain at the 2002 World Cup - and Joe Molloy were joined by former Sunderland goalkeeper David Preece.

You can watch the full chat on YouTube below:

Which type of taker is easier for a goalkeeper to second guess? 

"Someone who takes a fast approach really and strides up to the ball with a fair bit of pace," said Preece.

"Simply because then in your mind, you're thinking it's going to go with the natural swing of their legs. So if it's a right foot, it's going to go to your right and the left foot is to your left. From that point of view, it kind of made it a bit easier because you knew they were just going to go for power and they kind of give you a clue as to which direction they're going to go." 

In terms of the psychology, he added that holding a piece of paper ostensibly with research on it can psyche out the taker if that player assumes the goalkeeper has done his homework.

Meanwhile, Kevin explained that the most technical strikers of a ball in those situations could often be full backs and central midfield players, rather than strikers as would be expected given their contrasting roles on the field.


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