Secrets to winning on penalty shootouts – A statistical analysis

Recent penalty shootouts in the last-16 round of FIFA World Cup has once again sparked a really old debate in the world of football – “Are penalties are a fair way to decide a game of football?”.

Three out of eight games in pre-quarterfinals were decided by penalties and cost the likes of Spain, Denmark and Colombia place in the next round. Simon Jenkins recently compared penalty shootouts to Love Island in his piece on the Guardian.

Penalty shootouts have never managed to find the approval of football purists, and their existence in the sport is always under threat. However, what’s the secret to winning shootouts in football? Are they purely about luck or skills also play a major part?

According to a recent analysis from Betway, there are certain secrets to winning penalties and not all of them depend on skills. The analysis says that order of taking penalties is really important, and the first team to take the spot-kick has a 60% chance of winning the shootout. Since the 1998 World Cup, 12 out of 15 shootouts have been won by the team going first.

Other factors include trusting your strikers and goalscorers in the shootout and aiming high on the net.

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