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We like to bring you interesting stories here at world cup spread betting and it’s finally been proven that the German’s are King when it comes to penalty shoot outs. Since penalties where first used to decide drawn games in Spain in 1982, there have been 20 games decided by penalties across 7 tournaments. 186 kicks have been taken and of those 56 have been missed. The Germans have been involved in 4 shoot outs and have won all 4. England on the other hand have lost all 3 of there’s.

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Uli Stielike was the first player to miss a penalty in a shoot out in Spain in 1982 and he funny enough was you guessed it, German. But that’s just about where the bad news ends for Germany. Overall German players have a 94% strike rate. England’s strike rate on the other hand is only 50%. Of their 14 kicks they have missed 7. Although it’s called a lottery, psychology is said to be a huge part of it, and the higher the “star status” of the player the higher the pressure. Players from England, Spain, Italy and Holland all tend to have a high star status and thus there is more pressure on them when they step up.

England take their kicks the fastest with the mentality been, let’s get it over and done with. Germans tend to be far more clinical both in taking and preparation and are said to have a data base of over10, 000 penalties. During a shoot out in the 2006 quarter final, Jens Lehmann was seen to be taking a piece of paper from his sock and studying the information on it. He no doubt had done his homework and was checking out the penalty takers from the other team. Even if the paper was blank, I’m sure it would have instilled doubt in the penalty takers just to see Jens looking at it. Penalty kicks, it seems are not about skill they are about players choking. They are not decided by spectacular penalties but by players who fail because of pressure.

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Spain who are one of the favourites in South Africa will be hoping to improve on their record in spot kicks, they have only won 1 out of 3 and it’s more than likely that the eventual winners will have to endure at least one shoot out. Another helpful hint is to try and win the toss as 60% of winners take their penalties first.

Roberto Baggio was one of the most high profile players to miss a penalty when he blasted the ball over the bar in the final against Brazil. He said that moment had haunted him for years after and still bothers him today. He then bravely stepped up 4 years later to score against France but still ended up on the losing team. He said “I have never run away from my responsibilities. Only those who have courage to take a penalty can miss them”. Fair do’s Roberto.

News today sees Jose Mourhino looking to bring Ashley Cole and Michael Essien to Madrid if he becomes manager. Cole is also on the radar of Barcelona, AC Milan, Roma and Bayern Munich. Man Utd are considering a move for Yaya Toure. Gareth Barry has said he will be fit for England’s second group match and Fabio Capello will wait until the last possible moment before deciding. Squad deadline day is Tuesday. Capello is in the news today in his own right with the Inter President he would be the perfect replacement for Mourinho and is ready to pay him £9 million. He is currently on £6 million. Nice money if you can get it.

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And finally. Maradonna has said he will run naked around Buenos Aires if his team wins the World Cup. Either he’s extremely confident that they won’t win or he’s a bit of an exhibitionist. Reminds me of a joke I heard once about two old ladies who were a bit short sighted and a naked man rode past on a bike. The first one said “What was he wearing”. The second one replied “I’m not sure, but whatever it was it needed a good ironing”. Adios.

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