“Now it is left to the lottery of the penalty shootout to decide the winner of this match.” How often have you phrase ? Well guess what, it looks like the penalty shootout is not a complete lottery after all. So now UEFA is proposing a ‘Tennis Tie Break’ style format for penalty shootouts on order to make it more fair both teams.
Some of the biggest matches in football have been decided by the penalty shootout including last year’s Champions League final. Real Madrid took the first penalty kick and eventually won as Juanfran missed for Atletico Madrid in the shootout.
Fair result ? Maybe not !
Here are some statistics regarding penalty shootouts :
- 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 clearly there is an advantage for the team that takes the first kick in the shootout. Also the captain who wins the toss will also take the option of shooting as it obviously increases their chances of winning.
So UEFA has decided to follow the Tennis Tie break method which uses the ABBBAABB.. format. In this way, instead of alternatively taking shots the team that goes second will take two successive shots and then the first team will follow suit.
How will this ABBAABB.. format 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.