England’s past failures in penalty shootouts has the potential to hurt them in the future, a new research paper has found.
It’s no secret that the English national team has suffered from penalty heartache over the years. Across their efforts in the World Cup and Euros they are 1-3 in the FWC and 1-3 at the European Championship.
They’ve only beaten Colombia in 2018 and Spain in 1996, with defeats to Germany, Portugal, Argentina and Italy still being fresh in the memory of fans across the globe.
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This group of players seem to possess the kind of composure that should make such statistics redundant, but a recent body of work from Bournemouth University’s Tim Rees and Sweet Briar College’s Jessica Salvatore suggests otherwise.
“Far from harmless melodrama, research suggests this stereotype may hurt England’s chances in future penalty shootouts.
“That’s because of what’s called a ‘stereotype threat’ – the fear people have that their performance will confirm negative stereotypes about the group to which they belong.”
They went on to say: “Penalty-taking appears to be disrupted by a stereotype threat because athletes divert their attention to monitoring their step-by-step performance, interrupting the automatic execution of the skill.
“So, in contrast to the working memory notion above, stereotype threats in sport may actually affect performance – not because they shift attention away from executing the skill, but because they encourage too much attention on it.”
There are fans across the globe that always try to simplify taking a penalty, with many believing you just need to “stick your laces through it” and hope for the best. Alas, that’s not how football works, and the psychological element combined with the stakes involved will always play some kind of role.
The nation will be holding its breath this Sunday with there being a chance England face a repeat of Euro 2012 by facing Italy in a penalty shootout – but this time, it’ll be in the final.
Featured image credit: Getty