Penalty shoot-outs a lottery? That's amateur thinking

Penalty shoot-outs are often labelled lotteries, but former Croatia goalkeeper Joey Didulica believes that is an amateur viewpoint.

Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic denies Denmark star Christian Eriksen.   -  Getty Images

Many say penalty shoot-outs are a "lottery", but plenty of goalkeepers would argue against that point, perhaps most notably Danijel Subasic.

Subasic has helped Croatia win two shoot-outs in the knockout stage of the World Cup as Zlatko Dalic's men moved into the final.

Perhaps the goalkeeper got lucky, but his record with penalties would suggest otherwise.

Former Croatia international shot-stopper Joey Didulica argues that suggesting shoot-outs are a lottery is amateur thinking.

We take a look at the records of the final four starting goalkeepers at the World Cup – Subasic, France's Hugo Lloris, Belgium's Thibaut Courtois and England's Jordan Pickford.

Penalty save records in top five European leagues since 2011-12:
Subasic – saved 7 of 19 (36.8 per cent)
Courtois – saved 2 of 15 (13.3)
Pickford – saved 1 of 9 (11.1)
Lloris – saved 2 of 26 (7.7)

"There's more to it," Didulica said.

"The mental game, you've got to be confident. A lot of it comes down to research as well. You've got to know who's kicking the penalty, the way they’ve approached the penalties before, where they slow down if they're going to slow down, which corner.

"As much as people think it's 50-50, amateurs say that. I think at the highest level, a good goalkeeper definitely can have a better chance than 50-50 in a shoot-out. Your best keeper normally can win it for you."

Interestingly, teams going first in shoot-outs at the World Cup have won 50 per cent of the time (15 of 30).

Teams going first have also lost all four shoot-outs at Russia 2018, as well as the past six.

Don't try telling goalkeepers, past or present, about these so-called lotteries.

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