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November 22, 2006 4:16 PM   Subscribe

What's the point of this move when the success rate of penalty kicks is already quite high?

I saw this while waiting for food at a takeout place, but I don't understand soccer very well. Could someone please explain to me what he was trying to do (was a fake?), why it didn't work, and why the player from the opposing team starts berating him? To a soccer novice, it seems like the odds are with the kicker in this situation even without attempting something like this.
posted by reformedjerk to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Showmanship. There is no point, and with Arsenal only holding a 1-0 lead at that point in the game, to try such a thing shows breathtaking arrogance.

He was trying to knock the ball forward a yard or so, so that his team-mate could knock the ball into the net from an unexpected angle and presumably after the goalkeeper had committed himself to a dive in one direction or the other.

It didn't work because he messed up and failed to make contact with the ball (lost coordination after being too elaborate with his faking) and so failed to knock it into the path of his team-mate.

You are right; they would have been more likely to score if they'd just taken the kick normally. They were berated by their coach and every pundit in the media afterwards.

The opposing player was angry with them because this was a display of arrogance and overconfidence that has rarely been seen before or since. It shows a huge lack of respect for the opposing team, suggesting that Arsenal could win the game without trying and could affort to pull Harlem Globetrotter-like stunts to entertain themselves. It was not sporting behaviour.
posted by nowonmai at 4:29 PM on November 22, 2006

He was trying to recreate a similar attempt as done by Cruyff (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/rules_and_equipment/4371092.stm).
The player berating him was Danny Mills who is, to put it delicately, prone to getting upset at anything.
posted by TheRaven at 4:31 PM on November 22, 2006

It's called showboating. Why execute a straightforward penalty when you can show your inferior journeyman opponents what a highly paid superstar you are? But they fucked it up and looked like arseholes.

posted by fire&wings at 4:44 PM on November 22, 2006

what nowonmai said -- Pires is an asshole
posted by matteo at 5:04 PM on November 22, 2006

Actually, he did make contact with the ball (BBC agrees). Pires fakes a big swipe at the ball and misses, then taps it and it moves forward slightly, which puts the ball in play. (If the ball wasn't in play, the Manchester City player wouldn't be allowed to touch the ball.) Pires didn't tap it hard enough to get to his teammate, and one he touches the ball, Pires isn't allowed to touch the ball until after someone else does.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:42 PM on November 22, 2006

What everyone else said. Pires is a "flair player" - known for his showboating and trickery, but that time it went horribly wrong.

He meant to emulate the famous Johann Cruyff penalty kick mentioned by TheRaven (youtube) by passing it to Thierry Henry. The keeper would go towards Henry, who'd then give it back to Pires to put in an empty net.

Except Robert Pires is quite clearly no Johann Cruyff. kirkaracha is also correct. In the replay, you can see that Pires did touch the ball with the bottom of his foot, meaning he had taken the penalty and the Man City players could commence with their piss-taking. They weren't berating him, they were probably calling him a stupid ass.

With regards to your other point about players already having a big advantage in a penalty kick situation - there have been some interesting trends this season, with the goalkeepers saving a a lot more kicks than usual. I can't find it online, but I read an article a few weeks ago that said the success rate for goalkeepers in the English Premier League is up to around 30% - a big rise from around 10% a decade ago.

This is mainly because goalkeepers are coached more heavily on saving penalties, and also study the penalty takers from the teams they oppose. They know who will take it, where they usually aim for, and how hard they hit it. It's getting a lot more difficult to score penalties (extremely bad news for England).
posted by afx237vi at 8:00 AM on November 23, 2006

Having watched the cruyff video, I am curious - why wasn't that offside? And how do these kicks relate to Law 14, where it says

"If, after the penalty kick has been taken:
The ball is touched by an outside agent as it moves forward:

* the kick is retaken.
posted by jacalata at 1:14 PM on November 23, 2006

jacalata the only thing I can think that would qualify as an 'outside agent' would be if a fan jumped on the field or whatnot.
But the Cruyff kick was not offsides because Henri was not offsides when the kick was originally taken and then when Henri passed it back to Cruyff it was a pass backwards. To be offsides the ball must be played forwards.
posted by iurodivii at 10:09 AM on November 27, 2006

Thanks :) I'm a little surprised that 'outside agent' doesn't seem to be defined anywhere in the rules - I thought it might mean 'anyone not being the player or keeper involved in the penalty kick'.

I feel kind of stupid for not noticing that he passed it backwards - I think Cruyff just looked so close to the goal that I didn't realise he was still behind Henri.
posted by jacalata at 11:55 AM on November 27, 2006

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