Hardest Feat in Sports: The Science of a Penalty Kick
What's harder than returning Nadal's serve, hitting a Clemens fastball or tossing a Manning bros. level touchdown pass?
The scientist prove, no matter how you slice it, saving a penalty kick save in soccer may be the most improbable feat in all of sports. The numbers don't allow a goalkeeper any margin for error.
FIFA rules state that the World Cup finals could be determined in penalty kick shoot-outs, if a 90 minute game and two extra 15 minute periods end in a tie. Like yesterday's Japan-Paraguay game that ended in shoot-outs, it is most likely that almost every shot will go in. Japan was the only team to miss a PK.... and it wasn't saved by the keeper, but instead the crossbar. So, after 10 shots, neither keeper made a save.
As a goalkeeper that spent most of my young life training for these moments, it is a bit of an impossible task, but that's what makes a save that much sweeter.