The striker's fear of the penalty

'The goalkeeper’s fear of the penalty' – 
but shouldn’t a striker fear it
so much more? The keeper isn’t
expected to save; the forward 
is obliged to score. A penalty 
can help break the duck,
if you’re blazing chances over the bar
that seem more difficult to miss,
going through a spell of bad luck.

And yet, and yet. Spain’s Morata 
spurned a penalty rebound,
then missed his own pen 
in the next match, while
his country notched up five
including two own goals, 
regardless. So cruel,
so unsure. He failed at Chelsea
as well, this unhappy matador. 

A chance of redemption. 
Dropped for the semi-final,
he came off the bench 
to nonchalantly notch 
the equaliser. Then came
the penalty shoot-out.
He walked to the spot, 
knowing he would miss.
Briefly a saviour. Always
remembered as martyr.  

◄ The poisoned garden

Alnwick ►


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M.C. Newberry

Fri 9th Jul 2021 12:52

SG raises an interesting point. But it seems that there is a more
general relaxation in terms of what used to be considered "gamesmanship" on the pitch. Hardly excusable now though,
with the all-seeing eye of the video and multi-angle slo-mo

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Stephen Gospage

Thu 8th Jul 2021 17:34

When I used to referee football matches, we were very strict on goalkeepers moving before the kick. It seems now rules permit keepers to do disco dad moves along the line and get away with it. The winning Italian penalty taker was very cool when he scored, though.

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M.C. Newberry

Thu 8th Jul 2021 13:09

JC - the player I referred to described a penalty kick as the easiest
in football...with practice breeding confidence and.confidence producing success under pressure. And he proved it by his own

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John Coopey

Wed 7th Jul 2021 17:25

There are different perceptions at play with a penalty. To the penalty taker the goals seem impossibly small; to the goalkeeper they seem as big as an aircraft hanger.
The advice about hitting the top corners holds true,MC, provided you do. It is very easy to undercut it trying to give it elevation, sending it arcing over the bar. On the other hand you can't "overcut" one to a bottom corner.

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M.C. Newberry

Wed 7th Jul 2021 12:19

Successful penalties are the result of diligent practice - as an old
Manchester player (famous for his ability to score them) constantly proclaimed. His advice to place them in the top corner
of the net cannot be faulted. No keeper, however agile or with prescience of the intention, can hope to reach that chosen spot.
On a corresponding note, I'm curious why players today so often
use the side of the boot when players of other days would use the instep/front of the boot...surely with more accuracy and power.

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Greg Freeman

Wed 7th Jul 2021 09:08

This poem can also be found on my page on the wonderful Football Poets website

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