Andrew Anthony's treatise On Penalties
looks at every aspect of the penalty kick, quoting extensively from many of those who have famously scored and missed, from 12 yards out. A range of goalkeepers are also consulted on how to save penalties. Practice makes perfect. Or does it? It has been noted to some interest on many occasions that the pressure of the shoot-out situation can't be re-created properly on the training ground. Yet, the more German teams hone their technique, the more success they seem to have when matches are decided in this way.
It's a timely book. In the last 15 years, the penalty shoot-out has played an increasingly important role in the outcome of the major international football tournaments. It has denied the English national side on three famous occasions. The Dutch and Italian sides have been tormented even further by the cruellest of ways to settle a game (the former missed five kicks from the spot versus the latter in the semi-final of the 2000 European Championships in front of their own fans). Anthony notes that previous literature on penalties has been sparse. Indeed, serious thinking on the issue has been lacking from many of the so-called major football nations. But, with a high percentage of the most important games in world football ending in this manner, this entertaining work is correct to analyse and draw attention to such a dramatically decisive factor; spot on. --Trevor Crowe
"A tour de force of narrative journalism" (Observer
"A wonderfully entertaining read" (New Statesman
"An emotional rollercoaster of a read" (Mirror
'Extremely entertaining and fearlessly erudite' - Evening Standard
About the Author
Andrew Anthony is a feature writer and investigative journalist. He has written for the Observer
since 1993, and for the Guardian
since 1990. He has also written for Vogue
and the Daily Telegraph
. His features cover a wide range of subjects: politics, crime, sport, literature, TV and popular culture. He was nominated for Feature Writer of the Year in 2000 and Sports Writer of the Year in 2003.