Stephen Hawking’s tips for England to win a penalty shoot-out


Hawking died this week, aged 76

After the demise of physicist Stephen Hawking, we decided to honour him by reviving some of his tips regarding football. In 2014, prior to the World Cup, Hawking advised Roy Hodgson how to turn the fortunes around regarding England and its penalty shoot-out taboo.

Hawking carried out a study on 45 World Cup games England played since 1966. Without a doubt, the physician found that England’s weak point is penalty shoot-outs. Additionally, he highlighted five aspects that undermined England’s performances: environment, physiology, psychology, politics and tactics.

These are some of the points that he found out:

  • England performed better when playing less than 500 metres above sea level and play in the afternoon.
  • The team performed better in the red away kit because it made them more aggressive and confident.
  • Whoever the manager is, he must play a 4-3-3 formation.

Penalty Shoot-Outs

England received heartbreak by penalty shoot-outs on six occasions in the last 28 years. In order to take the perfect penalty, Hawking tipped players to aim for the top corners, with the side of your foot. Moreover, he said that players should get a run-up of more than three steps. Besides that, Hawking described the best penalty-taker’s profile:

โ€œBald players and fair-haired players are more likely to score. The reason for this is unclear. This will remain one of science’s great mysteries.”

As England warm up for Russia 2018, it wouldn’t a bad idea if Gareth Southgate revises Hawking’s findings in order to break the long, long trophy drought!


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