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How to take the perfect penalty
Around the Academy:

Botched penalties sent England crashing out of Euro 2004.

So what makes the difference between spot kick success or failure?

The Academy investigates.

Blast or place it? Wait for the keeper to move? Or pick a spot and stick to it?

There are many thoughts going through a penalty taker's mind as soon as the ref 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.

Nobody's expecting the keeper to save it. But he'll be a hero if he does, casting the kicker as the villain.

David Beckham
Becks went for the corner - but found row Z!

So whether it's at the European Championships, in the Premiership, the school field or the local park, where should you strike the perfect penalty?

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 straight down the middle, assuming that the goalkeeper will move, but it's not always successful."

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.

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