Discussion

The 411 on World Cup shootouts

Updated: July 2, 2010, 11:44 AM ET
By Peter Keating

Today's winners in Stats & Analytics:

Germany, goalies who stay put

Today's losers:

Uruguay, Paraguay

Remember how the last World Cup ended? After surviving Zinedine Zidane's insane headbutt and playing to a 1-1 draw in regulation, Italy beat France on penalty kicks. Neither the Italians nor the French made it to this year's quarterfinals, but penalty shootouts are still around. Personally, I consider them a silly way to end tied championship games, because the ability to beat a goalie from 12 yards away is just a tiny piece of overall soccer skill. But penalty kicks are exciting. More important, there are big differences in how well teams execute them -- differences that one day soon could become even more pronounced as goaltenders, aided by new research, are trained to detect kicker "tells."

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