Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Matthias Schrader/AP/Press Association Images And Manuel Neuer goes... left!
# Lottery
Science unlocks the key to penalties, sort of
Dutch psychologists’ research into penalty shoot-outs could change the face of football… unless the goalie just happens to go the other way.

SHANKAR VEDANTEM, WRITING for NPR, has interviewed a team of scientists affiliated with the University of Amsterdam who believe that goalkeepers favour diving to the right in certain high pressure circumstances.

Whereas goalkeepers appear as likely to go left as right when their team is either ahead or on level terms with an opponent, their likelihood of diving to the right increases significantly when their team is behind.

Shalvi thinks soccer goalkeepers tend to dive right when all hopes are pinned on them. That’s why they dive right, he said, “especially when their team is behind and their likelihood to be heroes is the greatest.”

The study will make interesting reading for coaches and managers alike, but will likely offer little comfort to those taking spot kicks in the future.

Read more about the study at >

Sport’s worst haircuts: a tribute >

Exclusive Six
Nations Analysis

Get Murray Kinsella’s exclusive analysis of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign this spring

Become a Member

Your Voice
Readers Comments