Winning Football Penalty Shootouts

56 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2013 Last revised: 25 Nov 2018

See all articles by Rupert Macey-Dare

Rupert Macey-Dare

University of Oxford - Saint Cross College; Middle Temple; Minerva Chambers

Date Written: October 1, 2013


This paper analyses the best scientific approaches for any team to win a football penalty shootout. The paper also illustrates why penalty shootouts provide some of the most exciting moments in modern sport, and deduces new results about optimal shooter order and probability of each team winning at any stage. Additional results are derived about football economics, football derivatives and optimal game strategy.

A number of classic penalty shootouts are also considered including: Toluca v. Santos in the Torneo Final Bicentenario 2010; Japan v. USA in the Women’s World Cup 2011; Brazil v Chile in the World Cup 2014; China v USA in the Women’s World Cup 1999; Zambia v Ivory Coast Africa Cup of Nations 2012 and from rugby union: Leicester v Cardiff in the Heineken Cup 2009.

Keywords: Tanda de penaltis decisiva, séance de tirs au but, decisão por pênaltis, elfmeterschießen, Лучшие Серии Пенальти, calci di rigore, 足球点球大战, サッカーPK戦, soccer, football, multinomial model, double binomial, knockout barrier options, game theory, World Cup, Euro 2016, African Cup, ركلات الترجيح

JEL Classification: C72, G12, C73

Suggested Citation

Macey-Dare, Rupert, Winning Football Penalty Shootouts (October 1, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Rupert Macey-Dare (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Saint Cross College ( email )

Saint Giles
United Kingdom

Middle Temple

Middle Temple Lane
London, EC4Y 9AT
United Kingdom

Minerva Chambers

United Kingdom

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics