Croatian players take penalties in the most vulnerable positions.
The spot with the lowest success rate in World Cup penalty shootouts, the middle of the goal, was chosen by two-thirds of Croatia’s 11-meter shooters.
The middle of goal is a terrible place to aim for, according to research using World Cup penalty shootout data from 1982. Players rarely choose to target areas that goalkeepers typically occupy. The success rate of free kicks at this position is also quite low.
In the 2022 World Cup quarterfinal against Brazil, two-thirds of Croatia’s penalty kickers aimed for the centre area, defying research and statistical evidence. Unexpectedly, these players have a 100% success rate.
The South American team’s goalkeeper, Alisson Becker, appears to be receiving excellent data advice in the meanwhile. He took off early with passengers and picked up the most historically targeted areas. However, this goalkeeper only stopped one shot out of the entire game.
Croatia’s opening shot comes from Nikola Vlasic at number 13. He struck the ball directly in the middle of the goal. Only 7% of players in this position have ever been chosen as an attack target in a World Cup penalty shootout. Only 61% of shots result in a goal, which is a relatively low success rate.
Lovro Majer kicked into the low area in the middle for his second attempt. The success rate for the aforementioned position is only 60%, and there aren’t many people choosing it.
In the meantime, Mislav Orilic and Luka Modri both made kicks into the bottom left corner. With 23%, this is the area where penalty shoot-outs target the most. However, compared to other goal-area corners, this one has a far lower success percentage at only 63%.
Both Modri and Ori’s final two shots were aimed towards the right corner of the goalpost, making it challenging for the goalkeeper to block them. Alisson Becker correctly predicted the path of the final shot, but he was unable to push the ball.
It is evident that Croatia’s two front kickers have prevailed in their battle of wits. They selected to focus on a minority neighborhood, and Alisson Becker should be duped by the high failure rate. The two shooters that came next had too good of a shot technique, therefore they managed to score despite picking a challenging angle.
Marquinhos chose the same angle behind Ori but fired the ball into the post, eliminating Brazil from the tournament.
According to research, center-of-goal shots in penalty shootouts are almost always a high-risk gamble. The Athletic refers to it as a psychological game. That shot will be a farce if the goalie doesn’t fly to determine the direction to be fooled.
With Panenka-style penalties, even superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo or Sergio Aguero have failed.
The success rate of mid-goal penalties is noticeably greater for the 2022 World Cup, though. When Spain’s goalkeeper Unai Simon had a propensity to fly early, Morocco’s players decided to shoot in this area. Achraf Hakimi even used a Panenka to end the series.
The four Brazilian penalty kick players, though, played very “safely.” Towards 40% of the penalty shots taken at the World Cup since 1982, they aim for the bottom left and right corners. As a result, the fall of goalie Livakovic has a successful save rate. higher. Young athlete Rodrygo Goes was intercepted on the opening leg. Marquinhos, a midfielder, brought the ball to the post and then left.
In a crucial game, eight penalty shootout players from each team did not opt to place the ball in the high corner. These two locations, with a success percentage of 75-88%, guarantee the greatest penalty rate. Making a conventional shot specifically at these areas is difficult, though.
Opta’s study shows that 14 penalty shootouts were unsuccessful because the shooters’ shots struck the crossbar and post. One of the most well-known of them is Italian player Roberto Baggio’s miss against Brazil in the 1994 championship game.