Penalty kick (association football)

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Player preparing to take a penalty kick, 2013.

A penalty kick (more commonly known as a penalty) is a method of restarting play in association football, in which a player is allowed to take a shot on the goal while it is defended only by the opposing team's goalkeeper. It is awarded when a foul punishable by a direct free kick is committed by a player in his or her own penalty area. The shot is taken from the penalty mark, which is 12 yards (11 m) from the goal line and centred between the touch lines.

In practice, penalty kicks are converted to goals more often than not, even against world class goalkeepers. This means that penalty awards are often decisive, especially in low-scoring games.

Similar kicks are made in a penalty shootout in some tournaments to determine which team is victorious after a drawn match; these are governed by slightly different rules.

Procedure

Kevin Muscat taking a penalty for Melbourne Victory FC in 2008

The ball is placed on the penalty mark, regardless of where in the penalty area the foul occurred. The player taking the kick is to be identified to the referee. Only the kicker and the defending team's goalkeeper are allowed to be within the penalty area; all other players must be within the field of play but outside the penalty area, behind the penalty mark, and a minimum of 10 yards (9.1 m) from the penalty mark (the penalty arc denotes 10 yards from the penalty mark). The goalkeeper must stand on the goal line between the goal posts until the ball is kicked. Lateral movement is allowed, but the goalkeeper is not permitted to come off the goal line by stepping or lunging forward until the ball is in play. The assistant referee responsible for the goal line where the penalty kick is being taken is positioned at the intersection of the penalty area and goal line, and assists the referee in looking for infringements and/or whether a goal is scored.

When the referee is satisfied that the players are properly positioned, he/she blows the whistle to indicate that the kicker may kick. The kicker may make feinting (deceptive or distracting) moves during the run-up to the ball, but once the run-up is completed he/she may no longer feint and must kick the ball. The ball must be stationary before the kick, and it must be kicked forward. The ball is in play once it is kicked and moves, and at that time other players may enter the penalty area. Once kicked, the kicker may not touch the ball again until it has been touched by another player of either team or goes out of play (including into the goal).

Infringements

In case of an infringement of the laws of the game during a penalty kick, most commonly entering the goal area illegally, the referee must consider both whether the ball entered the goal, and which team committed the offence.

Result of the kick No violation Violation by the attacking team only Violation by the defence only Violation by both
Enters the goal Goal Rekick Goal Rekick
Goes directly out of bounds Goal kick Goal kick Rekick Rekick
Rebounds into play from goal/goalkeeper Play continues Indirect free kick Rekick Rekick
Saved & held by goalkeeper Play continues Play continues Rekick Rekick
Deflected out of bounds by goalkeeper Corner kick Indirect free kick Rekick Rekick

The following infringements committed by the kicking team result in an indirect free kick for the defending team, regardless of the outcome of the kick:

  • a teammate of the identified kicker kicks the ball instead (the player who took the kick is cautioned)
  • kicker feints kicking the ball at the end of the run-up (the kicker is cautioned)
  • kick does not go forward
  • kicker touches the ball a second time before it touches another player (includes rebounds off the goal posts or crossbar)

In the case of a player repeatedly infringing the laws during the penalty kick, the referee may caution the player for persistent infringement. Note that all offences that occur before kick may be dealt with in this manner, regardless of the location of the offence.

If the ball touches an outside agent (i.e., an object foreign to the playing field) as it moves forward from the kick, the kick is retaken.

Tap penalty

A two-man penalty, or "tap" penalty, occurs when the kicker, instead of shooting for goal, taps the ball slightly forward so that a teammate can run on to it and shoot. If properly executed, it is a legal play since the kicker is not required to shoot for goal and need only kick the ball forward. This strategy relies heavily on the element of surprise, as it first requires the goalkeeper to believe the kicker will actually shoot the ball, then dive or move to one side in response. It then requires the goalkeeper to remain out of position long enough for the kicker's teammate to reach the ball before any defenders, and for that teammate to place a shot on the undefended side of the goal.

The first recorded tap penalty was taken by Jimmy McIlroy and Danny Blanchflower of Northern Ireland against Portugal on 1 May 1957.[1] Another was taken by Rik Coppens and André Piters in the World Cup Qualifying match Belgium v Iceland on 5 June 1957. Arsenal players Thierry Henry and Robert Pirès failed in an attempt at a similar penalty in 2005, during a Premier League match against Manchester City at Highbury. Pirès ran in to take the kick, attempted to pass to the onrushing Henry, but miskicked and the ball hardly moved; as he had touched the ball, he could not touch it again, and City defender Sylvain Distin reached the ball before Henry could.[2]

Lionel Messi tapped a penalty for Luis Suárez as Suárez completed his hat-trick on 14 February 2016 against league opponents Celta de Vigo.[3]

Saving tactics

A goalkeeper makes a save from a penalty kick

"Reading" the kicker

A penalty being scored by Ryan Valentine.

Defending against a penalty kick is one of the most difficult tasks a goalkeeper can face. Owing to the short distance between the penalty spot and the goal, there is very little time to react to the shot. Because of this, the goalkeeper will usually start his or her dive before the ball is actually struck. In effect, the goalkeeper must act on his best prediction about where the shot will be aimed. Some goalkeepers decide which way they will dive beforehand, thus giving themselves a good chance of diving in time. Others try to read the kicker's motion pattern. On the other side, kickers often feign and prefer a relatively slow shot in an attempt to foil the goalkeeper. The potentially most fruitful approach, shooting high and centre, i.e., in the space that the goalkeeper will evacuate, also carries the highest risk of shooting above the bar.

As the shooter makes his approach to the ball, the goalkeeper has only a fraction of a second to "read" the shooter's motions and decide where the ball will go. If their guess is correct, this may result in a saved penalty. Helmuth Duckadam, Steaua București's goalkeeper, saved a record four consecutive penalties in the 1986 European Cup Final against Barcelona. He dived three times to the right and a fourth time to his left to save all penalties taken, securing victory for his team.

Use of knowledge of kicker's history

A goalkeeper may also rely on knowledge of the shooter's past behaviour to inform his decision. An example of this would be by former Netherlands national team goalkeeper Hans van Breukelen, who always had a box with cards with all the information about the opponent's penalty specialist. Ecuadorian goalkeeper Marcelo Elizager saving a penalty from Carlos Tevez in a match between Ecuador and Argentina, revealed that he had studied some penalty kicks from Tévez and suspected he was going to shoot to the goalkeeper's left side. Two other examples occurred during the 2006 FIFA World Cup:

  1. Portugal national team goalkeeper Ricardo in a quarter-final match against England, where he saved three penalties.
  2. The quarter-final match between Argentina and Germany also came down to penalties, and German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was seen looking at a piece of paper kept in his sock before each Argentinian player would come forward for a penalty kick. It is presumed that information on each kicker's "habits" were written on this paper. Lehmann saved two of the four penalties taken.

This approach may not always be successful; the player may intentionally switch from his favoured spot after witnessing the goalkeeper obtaining knowledge of his kicks. Most times, especially in amateur football, the goalkeeper is often forced to guess. Game theoretic research shows that strikers and goalies must randomize their strategies in precise ways to avoid having the opponent take advantage of their predictability.[4]

Distraction

The goalkeeper also may try to distract the penalty taker, as the expectation is on the penalty taker to succeed, hence more pressure on the penalty taker, making him more vulnerable to mistakes. For example, in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final between Manchester United and Chelsea, United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar pointed to his left side when Nicolas Anelka stepped up to take a shot in the penalty shoot out. This was because all of Chelsea's penalties went to the left. Anelka's shot instead went to Van der Sar's right, which was saved. Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar used a method of distracting the players called the "spaghetti legs" trick to help his club defeat Roma to win the 1984 European Cup. This tactic was emulated in the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final, which Liverpool also won, by Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek, helping his team defeat Milan.

An illegal method of saving penalties is for the goalkeeper to make a quick and short jump forward just before the penalty taker connects with the ball. This not only shuts down the angle of the shot, but also distracts the penalty taker. The method was used by Brazilian goalkeeper Cláudio Taffarel. FIFA was less strict on the rule during that time. In more recent times, FIFA has advised all referees to strictly obey the rule book.[citation needed]

Similarly, a goalkeeper may also attempt to delay a penalty by cleaning his boots, asking the referee to see if the ball is placed properly and other delaying tactics. This method builds more pressure on the penalty taker, but the goalkeeper may risk punishments, most likely a yellow card.

A goalkeeper can also try to distract the taker by talking to them prior to the penalty being taken. Netherlands national team goalkeeper Tim Krul used this technique during the penalty shootout in the quarter-final match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup against Costa Rica. As the Costa Rican players were preparing to take the kick, Krul told them that he ''knew where they were going to put their penalty'' in order to ''get in their heads''.[5] This resulted in him saving two penalties and the Netherlands winning the shootout 4-3.

Under new IFAB rule changes, if the penalty taker attempts to feint or dummy the opposing goalkeeper in the act of taking their penalty, the taker will be punished with a yellow card, and will not be allowed to retake the kick.[6][7]

Scoring statistics

Even if the goalkeeper succeeds in blocking the shot, the ball may rebound back to the shooter or one of his teammates for another shot, with the goalkeeper often in a poor position to make a second save. This makes saving penalty kicks more difficult. This is not a concern in penalty shoot-outs, where only a single shot is permitted.

These factors would give one the impression that penalty kicks are converted almost 100% of the time. Missed penalty kicks, however, are not uncommon: for instance, of the 78 penalty kicks taken during the 2005–06 English Premier League season, 57 resulted in a goal, thus almost 30% of the penalties were unsuccessful.[8]

A German professor who has been studying penalty statistics in the German German Bundesliga for 16 years found 76% of all the penalties during those 16 years went in, and 99% of the shots in the higher half of the goal went in[citation needed], although the higher half of the goal is a more difficult target to aim at. During his career, Italian striker Roberto Baggio had two occurrences where his shot hit the upper bar, bounced downwards, rebounded off the keeper and passed the goal line for a goal.

History

The early origin of the penalty kick probably lies in rugby football, as shown in early match reports, for example in 1888: "Dewsbury was awarded a penalty kick in front of the goal"[9] The concept of a penalty goal for fouls within 2 yards (1.8 m) of the goal was suggested at a Sheffield FA meeting in 1879.[10] The invention of the penalty kick is also credited to the goalkeeper and businessman William McCrum in 1890 in Milford, County Armagh, Northern Ireland.[11]

The Irish Football Association presented the idea to the International Football Association Board and finally after much debate, the board approved the idea on 2 June 1891.[12]

Influencing factors were for the Scottish Football Association on 20 December 1890 in the Scottish Cup quarter-final between East Stirlingshire and Heart of Midlothian when Jimmy Adams[13] fisted the ball out from under the bar.[14][15] and for the FA on 14 February 1891 a blatant goal-line handball by a Notts County player in the FA Cup quarter-final against Stoke City, which came into effect in the 1891–92 season. The world's first penalty kick was awarded to Airdrieonians in 1891 at Broomfield Park.[16] The first penalty kick in the Football League was awarded to Wolverhampton Wanderers in their match against Accrington at Molineux Stadium on 14 September 1891. The penalty was taken and scored by "Billy" Heath[17] as Wolves went on to win the game 5–0.

Notes

  1. ^ "Video: Messi who? Northern Ireland legends Blanchflower and McIlroy's brilliant penalty". Independent.ie. 
  2. ^ "Wenger defends Pires over penalty". BBC News. 22 October 2005. 
  3. ^ "Messi passes from penalty for Suárez's hat-trick as Barça beats Celta 6-1". Wikinews. February 15, 2016. 
  4. ^ Testing Mixed-Strategy Equilibria When Players Are Heterogeneous: The Case of Penalty Kicks in Soccer, 1 September 2002, JSTOR 3083302 
  5. ^ "Tim Krul: How the 120th-minute substitute stole Dutch glory". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  6. ^ Ough, Tom. "Five changes to the football rulebook that will affect Euro 2016 and beyond". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Murray, Les. "The madness of football's rule changes". The World Game. Special Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), Monday, 12 November 1888; Issue 15788.
  10. ^ Murphy, Brendan (2007). From Sheffield with Love. Sports Book Limited. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-899807-56-7. 
  11. ^ Daily Telegraph Monday 9 April 2007 p5 (see article on Telegraph online)
  12. ^ The Sunday Times Illustrated History of Football Reed International Books Limited. 1996. p11. ISBN 1-85613-341-9
  13. ^ James Adams – A Squad, Scottish Football Association.
  14. ^ "1890-12-20 Sat East Stirlingshire 1 Hearts 3". 
  15. ^ "1890122015 Hearts and Scottish Football Reports For Sat 20 Dec 1890 Page 15 of 22". 
  16. ^ "Airdrie". 
  17. ^ "Happened on this day – 14 September". BBC News. 14 September 2002. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 

External links

  • History of Laws of the Game – From 1863 to the Present Day
  • Penalty Kick Games
  • 2014 Irish Examiner article by Dr R Hume
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