The global recession obviously hasn’t hit science hard enough yet. There is still money available for someone to research the optimum way to shoot a football penalty. (By which of course I mean soccer – the only real kind of football there is).
According to Tim Cable, as reported in May’s PhysicsWorld, the best thing to do is to aim within 0.5 m of the crossbar and one of the posts. (Isn’t this stating the obvious – I mean no-one is likely to aim at the goalie, are they?) But, statistically, you shuold also give the ball a velocity of 29 m/s from a run-up of five steps at an angle of 25 degrees.
Now this news is out, I will be fascinated to see whether the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo will be seen wheeling out a theodolite from the touch line next time Manchester United have a key spot-kick. But whatever its use, you can bet that it will make zero improvement to England’s penalty shoot-out chances.