English Football Players are not as Bad at Kicking Penalties as Commonly Assumed

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The previous performance of the English men’s national football team in penalty shootouts has led to the widespread stereotype that English football players are particularly bad at scoring penalties. Research has proposed possible reasons behind this alleged “penalty curse”. When looking at these reasons, the question arises if English football players per se have trouble scoring penalty kicks. Therefore, we analyzed the performance of a large sample of penalty takers during all World- and European Championships (N = 696) and, additionally, in some of the highest European leagues over a ten-year period (N = 4,708). The results reveal no significant differences between the success rates (on average between 71–79%, depending on the type of penalty kick and on the type of competition) of penalty takers from different nations. Therefore, we conclude that English players perform as well as players from other nations and that poor performance in penalties lay beyond the factor nationality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7027
JournalScientific Reports
Volume10
Number of pages5
ISSN2045-2322
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ID: 5399197

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