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A Quick Guide to Surviving a World Cup Penalty Shootout


Editor’s Note: Croatia advance to the semi-finals of the World Cup by beating Brazil in a penalty shootout on Friday. How does anyone keep their cool in these nail biters? This is your guide. The original story follows.

AL RAYYAN, Qatar — Do you like or hate penalty shootouts?

Do not lie. Of course, you love them — unless you’re a player in knockout round at World Cupin that case, welcome to the stage, good luck and make sure your aim is right if needed.

The finale of the group action is frenetic enough, with frantic conclusions about every night of action, but especially the final three, with its glorious victories and painful eliminations.

Even the great Leo Messi has had a penalty saved in this World Cup. Poland’s Wojciech Szczesny shot in here. (Photo courtesy of ANP via Getty Images)

However, nothing can stir up emotion like a penalty shootout, undoubtedly classed as one of the cruelest, most controversial and most entertaining ways to decide the fate of a sports competition. .

They happen at every World Cup, always mesmerizing and the first chance to see a word from Qatar will be when USA undertake Netherlands at Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday (10 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app).

U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter pragmatically said: “The penalty kicks we practiced yesterday and will practice again today.”

Dutch coach Louis van Gaal comes from a country that has been broken many times by penalties so it is perhaps not surprising that he is a little more open.

“That’s extremely important,” van Gaal said, recalling how Oranje lost to Argentina in the 2014 semi-final. “We missed the final because of that. We were the strongest team on the pitch, but we lost because of the penalties. I always learn from the mistakes I made. called mistakes. I learned from those lessons.”

“The big advantage is that the goalkeepers as well as the takers, all season, have been working on the penalty spot, so I think that can be an advantage. A small advantage, but I would do anything. whatever is necessary.”

The United States has never participated in a penalty shootout at the World Cup. The Netherlands’ most painful experience was at the European Championships in 2000, at home, missing two of the regular kicks and three more in a penalty shootout in a game they dominated against Italy.

Despite his short answer, expect Berhalter to have prepared well and that he has no shortage of methods to choose from.

Mind games are very important for both sides on the penalty spot. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

In recent times, goalkeepers often try to make themselves look as big as possible, waving, standing close to the scorer until as late as possible.

At the 2018 World Cup, England coach Gareth Southgate ordered the goalkeeper jordan pickford to take the ball and personally hand it to each of England’s new shooters, as an added reassurance.

For the watchers, visualization comes with it – and it should come as no surprise to see Matt Turner give him a list that tells him where each Dutch player likes to play.

Some teams practice non-stop. Others do not, arguing that you cannot reproduce the pressure, the noise and the intensity on the training ground.

The penalties even influenced van Gaal’s goalkeeper selection process for the tournament. Andries Noppert was the tallest player at the World Cup but had never played for the national team prior to the event before being dropped from the relatively obscure list.

Van Gaal added: “We had all sorts of arguments and reasons about who would be the best goalkeeper. “We proved our picks on that basis. Plus the sequence (of the free kickers), etc.”

From the very beginning, you are looking for a calm mind and a clear attack.

Wait Christian Pulisic, if that happens, step forward for the American people. Captain Tyler Adams will be another padlock. Yunus Musah hit a clean ball. If it lasts 120 minutes with extra time, it’s unlikely Weston McKennie will still be on the field, but Giovanni Reyna may have been introduced as an alternative.

Christian Pulisic is a good bet to be the first U.S. penalty taker if the Americans go into the penalty shootout. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Tim Weah and Sergiño Dest would also be good candidates and it’s quite possible that players who rarely make it to the tournament could be called in, maybe even just as a late substitute for that purpose, for example. such as Jordan Morris or kellyn acosta.

In 2014, the Netherlands even substituted goalkeeper Tim Krul for penalties in the quarter-final against Costa Rica, and Krul made a crucial save after talking to rival Bryan. Ruiz in Dutch to distract him.

They didn’t do the same in the semi-final, having used up their reserves, and Jasper Cillessen couldn’t stop them against Argentina.

Goalkeeper Tim Krul came on from the bench to become a hero for the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. (Photo by Lars Baron – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Maybe it won’t be Saturday’s game when we see the penalties. Probability calls for a shootout sooner or later, and there have been at least two shootouts in every tournament since 1986.

An unfair way to determine a nation’s hopes and dreams? Maybe.

The movie that makes you can’t take your eyes off even for a second? Nothing is certain in the penalty shootout. But… sure.

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Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. You can subscribe to the daily newsletter here.


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