|How to take the perfect penalty!|
|Around the Academy:
The Academy tries to find out how to take the perfect penalty.
Blast or place it? Wait for the keeper to move? Or pick a spot and stick to it?
These are just some of the thoughts going through a penalty taker's mind as soon as the referee points to the spot.
In other words, if the thought of losing out in a one-on-one dual in front of 40,000 wasn't already making you go weak at the knees, there are still decisions to be made.
The keeper isn't bothered. He can't lose... nobody is expecting him to save it.
But he'll be an instant hero if he does, casting the kicker as the villain.
Research carried out by Liverpool John Moores University came up with at least one definitive solution as Professor Tom Riley revealed.
"A well-placed ball, high to the corners (A & B on graphic) will not be stopped by the goalkeeper even if he anticipates it.
"There is not enough time to react so a kick placed in this area would have a 100% strike rate.
"Some players blast the ball, assuming that the goalkeeper will move and while that was successful for David Beckham at the World Cup, it didn't help the Irish."
It's an interesting alternative to the best theory that you will often hear from professionals, managers and commentators.
Hitting the side netting, low down just inside either post (C & D on graphic) is often the target for many a penalty taker, but unless the ball is well struck the keeper can still reach it.