For long now, managers and players have heavily disregarded the penalty shootout as being something that you cannot prepare for. They feel that no matter how much you practice for a penalty shootout, at the end of the day it is just a throw of the dice. However the following piece of statistic shows that the team shooting first in the penalty shootout has an unfair advantage over the team shooting second.
- Teams kicking first in the penalty shootout win 61% of the times.
- 95.9% times the captain who wins the toss chooses to kick first. This is because they want to put pressure on the team shooting second.
So, according to the statistics, the team shooting first has an unfair advantage, and because 95.9% of the times captains opt to shoot first, they are aware of this advantage.
In order to make the penalty shootout a level playing field, a overhaul is needed. Clearly, the current sequential pattern is flawed and needs to be amended.
A simple solution would be to make the shootout simultaneous. Both the goal posts can be used to conduct the shootout and kickers from both teams will take their penalties simultaneously. But this solution would suck the drama out of the penalty shootout.
So, the International Football Association board has decided to go the ”Tennis tie-breaker’ way in order to make the penalty shootouts a level playing field.
How will this work?
The team that shoots first will have to wait for two turns before they can shoot again. So, essentially if there are two teams A and B, the sequence of the penalty shootout will be ABBAABB…
This resembles the tennis tie breaker sequence in which the player who serves first then has to face two serves from his opponent before he/she can serve again. According to statistical data, the player who serves first in the tie break wins 54% of the tie breaks(data based on ATP and WTA tour matches since 1990).
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So, the tennis tie break sequence brings down the success rate of the team shooting first by 7 percentage points.
The tennis tie breaker pattern removes the first mover advantage to some extent, and provides parity as the team shooting second isn’t always playing ‘catch up’
Test regarding this format of penalty shootout will be carried out this year and only then a final decision regarding this format will be taken.
This is a wonderful little step that is being taken in the world of football, and it is brilliant that tennis has come to the rescue of the beautiful game.