Date: 27th June 2012 at 4:40pm
Written by:

Next time you watch a penalty shoot-out, take note of just how far that walk from the half way line to the penalty area appears.

Take a look at just how many steps it takes a player to make and just how nervous they appear.

Wry smiles are replaced by nervous frowns and a steely stare as they contemplate becoming a hero or a villain.

I`d suggest that more are scored than missed but I remain convinced that the shoot-out, however much you prepare, remains nothing but a lottery.

On Sunday, when England crashed out to Italy on a penalty shoot-out, Ashley Young was one of the villains, but Rio Ferdinand, in a delightful interview in The Sun this morning, give san insight into just what that lonely walk is like, remarking,

“I spoke to Ashley after the game and told him how it requires a lot of bottle to go up and take a pen in those circumstances.”

“Ashley was disappointed, of course, but it`s the people who go missing when they are looking for penalty volunteers who deserve the stick.”

“It`s very nerve-racking, no doubt about it. I remember in the 2008 Champions League Final shootout against Chelsea. I was the next one up to take one and my knees were seriously knocking, I can tell you.”

“I would have backed Ashley to put the kick away though – as I would Ashley Cole who is usually so good at them.”


And so would I, Cole`s penalty in the Champions League Final was as near to perfection as you can get, whilst our own Ashley`s was a matter of inches from being just as good.

It`s a thin line between success and failure in instances like this!



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