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England have lost on penalties at five of the nine last major international football championships. So here’s some interesting news for whoever picks up the poisoned chalice from Steve McLaren—after analysing hours of footage, a team of psychologists in Israel have discovered the optimum strategy for a goalkeeper facing a penalty: don’t move. The team found that keepers who stayed in the centre of the goalmouth saved roughly a third of the penalties they faced, while those jumping to the left or right saved no more than one in eight.

Yet in 94 per cent of the penalties watched by…

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