What makes the perfect World Cup shootout penalty?

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1. 204 and counting

"All you need to do is walk 50 yards, take a penalty and score,” wrote former England defender Stuart Pearce in his autobiography, but it is not always so easy.

Of the 204 shootout penalties at World Cups before the 2014 tournament in Brazil, 60 were saved or missed and Italy’s talisman Roberto Baggio said his penalty failure in the 1994 final affected him for years.

Often cruel, always captivating and for some the precursor to huge celebrations, the first shootout took place on 8 July 1982 when West Germany defeated France 5-4 in a semi-final in Spain. Since then penalty shootouts have decided two finals and become a source of huge debate, with Baggio himself arguing that he will never accept a defeat on penalties.

2. Winners and losers

A graphic showing penalty shootout stats

1 - West Germany in 1982, 1986, 1990 2 - Argentina won two penalty shootouts in 1990

Please note - all statistics are up until the end of the 2010 Fifa World Cup

3. The agony and the ecstasy

The Germany team prepare for penalties

Twenty-three nations have competed in penalty shootouts during World Cups (up until 2010) since being introduced for the 1978 tournament, but were not needed in Argentina. Germany, France, Argentina and Italy have taken part in the most (four each).

Michel Platini places the ball before taking a penalty in 1986

Prior to 2014, European teams had won four of their 10 shootouts against countries from other continents. Michel Platini missed against Brazil in 1986 but France went through. Germany have won twice against non-European opposition and Bulgaria once.

Diego Forlan scores for Uruguay in 2010

The last seven shootouts (prior to the 2014 World Cup) have been won by the team going first. Diego Forlan scored the opening kick when Uruguay beat Ghana in 2010. The last team to win when going second were Spain against Republic of Ireland in 2002.

Jamie Carragher takes England's eighth penalty against Portugal in 2006

Of the opening 10 kicks, the eighth penalty has been missed most often with just 55% being scored (up to the end of the 2010 World Cup). England defender Jamie Carragher added to the list of misses when his effort against Portugal was saved in 2006.

Italy's Roberto Baggio sends his penalty high against Brazil in the 1994 World Cup final

Two World Cup finals have been decided on penalties, with Italy forward Roberto Baggio's famous miss in 1994 giving the trophy to Brazil. Italy tasted glory 12 years later though with a shootout win against France.

Robert Baggio is distraught after missing his penalty for Italy in 1994

Baggio would later admit in his autobiography 'A Goal In The Sky' that: "it affected me for years. It was the worst moment of my career. I still dream about it. If I could erase a moment from my career, it would be that one."

Italy fans in New York react to Roberto Baggio's missed penalty in 1994

Prior to 2014 Italy and England shared the record for the most penalties missed in World Cup shootouts. Both nations have missed seven times, though England's strike-rate is worse. They have missed seven of 14, with Italy scoring 13 of their 20.

South Korea celebrate in front of their fans after beating Spain in a shootout in 2002

Belgium, Paraguay and South Korea all hold a 100% record in shootouts - scoring five out of five kicks. Switzerland are the only country to miss every penalty they have taken in a shootout. They were beaten 3-0 by Ukraine in 2006.

Fans in Montevideo celebrate Uruguay's shootout win over Ghana in 2010

It is not just fans in the ground who are affected by the outcome of a penalty shootout. Crowds of people worldwide suffer the agony and ecstasy. Thousands of Uruguay fans packed the streets of Montevideo to celebrate their win against Ghana in 2010.

Netherlands and Argentina players react after their World Cup semi-final shootout

There is nothing quite like losing a shootout, for fans or players alike. Prior to 2014, 18.6% of all knockout World Cup matches since 1982 had been decided by the dreaded spot-kicks….and we have already seen more elation and misery in Brazil.

4. All in the mind

Former England striker Gary Lineker explains what it is like to take a World Cup shootout penalty - and then to watch his team-mates take theirs.

5. Hits and misses

Hits and misses

All 204 penalties taken in World Cup shootouts up until the end of the 2010 FIfa World Cup, with 144 scored and 60 failures.

6. The Goalkeeper's view

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Click or tap on the graphic to find out more. There are four different hotspots to discover – the three players and the goalposts. (please note: statistics are current up until the end of the 2010 Fifa World Cup)

7. Where would you put your penalty?

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Think you know where the best penalty goes now? Have a go yourself...