How to Take a Penalty
Getting a penalty in football might seem like a surefire way to score a goal, but there's an art to it that is often missed. Those who ignore the how-to basics from 12 yards out are doomed to miss. Check out our guide to understanding the mysterious ways of the spot kick.
Don't Think Too Much
Players who look to empty their minds of distraction and don't overthink their placement of the penalty will be more successful. Think Thomas Muller: the carefree and outwardly happy striker is ruthless around goal when instinct takes over.
Place It In The Corners
The worst penalties are weakly hit, glove height and near the middle of the goal, affording the keeper a much greater chance of getting a body part (hand, leg, foot) in the way. Like Cristiano Ronaldo knows, the trick is to place the ball in the corners. The further a goalkeeper has to travel and dive, the better your chances of scoring. Just don't miss.
If You Don't Place
It, Blast It
There's something to be said for the all-powerful, all-aggressive penalty as championed by the likes of Wayne Rooney. If you can't apply some finesse, make sure you apply plenty of power. Kick it as hard as you can, and follow through. Even if the goalkeeper gets a glove on the ball, he might not be able to keep it out.
Ignore The Keeper
Goalkeepers have a few tricks to ruin your concentration, such as the art of the dance. Several sneaky shot-stoppers use wacky moves on the goal line to distract upcoming penalty takers, whether it be "crazy legs" -- like the ones Jerzy Dudek used to help Liverpool win the 2005 Champions League final -- or big intimidating arm waves to show wingspan, or simply hanging off the bar to denote a sense of all-conquering size. Be confident, like Paul Pogba, and ignore it all!
Plant Your Foot
Make sure your run-up is true and your follow-through precise or else you'll look a fool. Chelsea captain John Terry was so excited to convert what would have been the game-winning penalty in the 2008 Champions League final vs. Manchester United, he slipped on the greasy Moscow turf and sent his spot-kick sailing wide of the post. His tears have been a mainstay meme for years. Gareth Bale has scored three goals so far at Euro 2016, including two spectacular free kicks. His set piece execution is a real asset for Wales.
The Panenka Is A
Privilege, Not A Right
We all know the iconic chip penalty down the middle. Created by Czech legend Antonin Panenka and carried into the modern era by the likes of Francesco Totti, Zinedine Zidane, Andrea Pirlo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, it is a crafty weapon in the spot kicker's arsenal, but like all arms, it should be used with the utmost care. Only attempt a panenka when you're seeking to inflict maximum emotional and psychological damage upon your opponent.
Don't Be England