England’s penalty shootout haplessness makes it fairly safe to assume that, if they make it through the group-stage, they won’t be attempting to stymie their way to a spot-kick decider when tackling stronger opposition.
The chances of their fears being realised are unlikely in the extreme when examining recent statistics that go a long way to confirming the 20/1 about no 12-yard nerve-holding contests occurring in Brazil is an excellent punt.
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Here’s why the flutter must be considered:
Trends often overlap in competitions featuring the elite at international and club levels and there hasn’t been a Champions League shootout in two years.
Obviously, one-off ties like those that take place in the World Cup stand a greater chance of going the penalty course and distance than two-legged affairs, but the dearth of spot-kick collisions between so many evenly-matched sides is resounding.
Frequency isn’t greatly increased in the Europa League either – just three of the previous 59 knockout games have been settled via the spot-kick lottery.
The decline in Champions League penalties is mirrored in this century’s World Cups.
Two of the previous three instalments (2002 and 2010) have produced a brace of shootouts apiece, which is the lowest number of spot-kick settlers at any tournament since the last-16 stage was introduced in 1986.
Furthermore, many of the leading 2014 protagonists tend to wrap up their World Cup elimination matches without the requirement of any after-hours drama.
Spain haven’t played the post-match penalty lottery since 2002, while you’ve got look back as far as 1998 to find Brazil’s last shootout.
Germany and Argentina have only contested one since the turn of the millennium too – against each other in 2006, which is also the only year over the last four World Cups that French mettle has been tested in this respect.