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I was just thinking about this this morning, if the Dutch players has hit their spot-kicks high into the left or right-hand corner than it would most likely have gone in. Toldo only dived low to one corner.

Dutch researchers may have found a cure for Euro 2000 players faced with the most embarrassing of soccer ailments -- MPS (Missed in a Penalty Shootout).

As Euro 2000 moved into the knockout stage on Saturday with the first two quarter-finals, the prospect of penalty shootouts deciding matches has been very much in the minds of the teams.

The Italians and Dutch are among the quarter-finalists who have been practising their penalty techniques in training. Many of the teams have a poor record in shootouts.

"Hit them high" is the message from a Dutch researcher who has carried out a study of more than 100 penalties taken during shootouts during major competitions since 1988.

"The best penalty is shot in the high-left or the high-right area," television researcher Bernard Krikke said. "You have a more than 90 percent chance of scoring. High-centre scores 81 per cent."

"If you decide to shoot low, then preferably low-left (88 percent). Low right scores 75 percent. Low centre scores only 16 percent."

Working for Dutch station KRO, Krikke sat down for four days with a colleague to analyse television pictures of 113 penalties in shootouts from tournaments which included the World Cups of 1990, 1994 and 1998 and the European championships of 1992 and 1996.

They divided up the goal into six squares -- three low squares (below 1.10 metres) and three high (above 1.10 metres).

Penalty shootouts can be cruel affairs.

England defender Gareth Southgate has taken a while to get over the label of being the player who missed when the home nation were knocked out of Euro 96 by Germany after a shootout in the semifinals.

Dutchman Clarence Seedorf had to go through the same experience when the Dutch were beaten by the French in the quarter-finals. Two of the Euro 96 quarter-finals and both semifinals were decided by shoot-outs.


Krikke, who has talked to Dutch assistant coach Johan Neeskens about his research, also looked into the actions of goalkeepers.

"Most goalkeepers prefer to choose a corner and start moving in that direction before the player hits the ball," he said.

"In 81 percent of the penalties we analysed, the goalkeeper moves to a corner before the ball is hit. But our research clearly shows that this behaviour is wrong. Goalkeepers that wait until the ball is hit have a much better chance to stop the ball."

He added: "Players who are confronted with an early moving goalkeeper (one who chooses a corner) score 82 percent of the penalties. Players who are confronted with goalkeepers that wait, score only 66 percent."

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I just notice that some players (as Romario) like to kick the penalty to central spot...tricky!:D
Anyway, PK is luckiness, and big stars like to miss it:D
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