Latest Issue

What football can teach us about the philosophy of regret

Should a footballer feel bad for missing a penalty? Bernard Williams's notion of agent-regret might hold the answer...

By Jake Wojtowicz  

Gareth Southgate dejected after failing to score in the penalty shoot out which ended England's chances in the Euro '96 semi-final match against Germany at Wembley.

Football is full of errors. The misplaced pass, the shot gone awry, the bungled clearance. Few of these decide a game, and we don’t expect players to dwell on every mistake. But sometimes these actions do decide a game—then the player (and the fans) can’t help but dwell.

The most obvious time this happens is when a player misses a penalty…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect