Geir Jordet spent 5 years studying the psychology of the end-of-match shootout and here's what he discovered

It's all about the penalty shootout this weather. Last night, the Euro 2020 final between Italy and England in London went to penalties, the fourth penalty shootout during the finals. Two of this month's Copa América knockout games also went to penalties.

All of this makes it a good time to look at an amazing Twitter thread by Geir Jordet. He's a Professor at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences where he conducts research and teaches psychology and elite football performance. His most extensive research involves performing under extreme pressure and, he says, "the penalty shootout in football is the essence of performing under pressure".

Jordet spent five years studying the psychology of the end-of-match shootout and here, then, are 10 things he has learned from studying every penalty shootout at every World Cup, Euros and Champions League final since 1976, interviewing 25 players who were there and testing predictions in practice with 15 elite teams. Each of the 10 points also links to a journal article by Jordet and his fellow researchers if you want to dig deeper.

(1) When do players miss more penalties?

"Players tend to miss more shots when pressure is high (late in the shootout), have lower shooting skill (defenders), are older than 23 yrs (younger players score more), and are fatigued (played 120 min)."

(2) Superstars can be a liability

"After receiving a prestigious individual award, players score 65% of their shots, but they score 89% prior to receiving the award"

(3) Positivity matters

Players who need to score to not instantly lose score 62% of their shots, while 92% of shots where goals instantly give a win are scored.

(4) Why English players react differently to penalties

Players from different countries historically respond differently to the stress of penalties. "English players, more than others, have turned their gaze away from the goalkeeper AND responded quicker to whistle. Probably to get relief from stress".

(5) History matters

"If your team lost in preceding shootout(s), you're more likely to miss your current shot; if your team won, you're more likely to score."

(6) It's all about timing

"Quick preparation (ball placement/reaction to whistle) associated with fewer goals. Grounded and composed is smarter. However, short wait (for the referee's signal) is linked to more goals, suggesting goalkeepers are wise to delay the referee."

(7) All players experience anxiety

"Interviews with 10 players who participated in a 2004 Euros penalty shootout showed they faced an intense explosion of different emotions - both helpful and harmful, positive and negative. The ONE emotion absolutely everyone experienced was ANXIETY."

(8) "The most anxiety is experienced in the mid circle"

"Taking a shot in a shootout is a dynamic and intense stress experience. Across time phases (after extra-time, mid circle, the walk, the shot), the most anxiety is experienced in the mid circle. From starting the walk, primary focus is on the shot."

(9) Is it all about luck?

"Many believe penalties is all about luck. True or not; we found that the more players believe the outcome of penalties are down to chance/lottery the more likely they are to experience destructive anxiety. Perception of control is key"

(10) The shootout is a team event

"Each kick is an individual act, but the shootout is a team event. Players' communication (verbal/non-verbal) is critical for the outcome! Expansively or intensely celebrating an individual goal increases the chance of the team ultimately winning."