When the pressure is on

We all remember Jean Van der Velde making a complete horlicks of the last hole at Carnoustie when he had the Open Championship in the bag. A five would have got the job done for the hapless Frenchman with two solid eight irons. Unfortunately though, he disengaged his brain and for some reason hit a two iron which risked going into the burn before the green. Which it did. That was not the right way to play that hole. And his caddie should have told him so.

There was no such excuse as the heat of the moment for England’s dismal performance in the penalty shoot out in the Euro 21 final on Sunday evening. Indeed the manager had the team practising them for months by all accounts. Really I ask? But did they discuss the mode of taking a penalty? It doesn’t look like it.

For this is one thing I don’t get in football and it seems so self-evident, so common sensical. A powerfully hit penalty has much more chance of beating the goalie than a strategically placed one. Is that not so? And is this not primary school stuff?

Yet England’s last three penalty takers all tried to outwit the goalkeeper and pamper it into the net. So did Jorghino of course with his pretty little hop, skip and jump routine. But he is an exuberant, exhibitionist Italian and was just playing to the crowd. Anyway, he missed too.

So why didn’t Southgate just say put your laces through it guys? I think that is the correct terminology. Don’t try and be clever or showy. Because It really comes down to the simple laws of physics, speed and reaction time and all that.

I mean there must be stats on all this I would think? but maybe not.

Anyway comments please. I’m well mystified.

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