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When it comes to the dreaded penalty shoot out, who would you want between the sticks? When reviewing the stats over the last five years GK1 discovers Rob Green has the best record of any English keeper with a save rate of over 30%. With the World Cup fast approaching penalties are in everyone's minds as history states that some of the biggest games are decided by the cruel, yet entertaining, spot kick.backpage imagesWORLD CUP PREVIEW WORLD CUP PREVIEW WORLD CUP PREVIEW

SPRING 20105To date two World Cup finals have been decided by penalties; in 1994 (Brazil v Italy) and 2006 (Italy v France).The Republic of Ireland famously beat Romania in the quarter finals on penalties in 1990, the same year England lost to Germany in that memorable semi-final shootout that left Chris Waddle and Stuart Pearce as the penalty fall-guys. England fans will be hoping they do not take any match to penalties in South Africa as they have never won a World Cup Finals penalty shoot out, having lost all 3 they have been involved in and only having won one in major competitions (Euro 1996 v Spain at Wembley). With focus on this facet of the game under more scrutiny [than usual] in a World Cup year GK1 speaks with Rob Green to get his thoughts on the spot kick.: How often do you practice penalties in training?RG: Some of the players like to practice before training. It really depends on the games we have coming up. I would say we practice them weekly on the whole. [Interestingly, Arsene Wenger stated on the eve of Arsenal's Champions League tie with Porto in March that his players would NOT practise penalties the day prior to a game in case they missed, creating a negative vibe.]: Do you take time to study different strikers and their penalty taking habits?RG: Yes, before every game. We study their penalties from previous games, their actions, where they start their run up from, what they do in their run up, the differences when they take penalties one way and the other. We replay the same clips over and over again trying to pick up any small detail probably for 15 minutes before every game.: Do you have any penalty saving secrets?RG: Yes but I don't want to give them away. Trying to dive the right way is clearly number one! Not really other than to do your homework. Some people like to try to put the taker off, others stand still. If you can get in the takers head beforehand you might have a better chance.: Do you watch the penalty takers eyes?RG: No! Too late! If you do that they will be off celebrating before they are close enough to see!: Why do you think you have the best record for an English goalkeeper and penalties?RG: Because there aren't that many English goalkeepers! We also concede a lot of penalties, so I have to save some of them! In all seriousness, it is hard for me to say as I don't know what the other guys are doing in terms of saving them to be honest. It is quite a personal thing and some keepers may have a theory on where a taker is going to place the ball and others don't.: Who is the best goalkeeper in the game at facing penalties?RG: Pepe Reina has a good history from what I can remember.: Do you think penalty shoot outs will play an important part of the World Cup?RG: Yes. If you look at the major tournaments and the number of semi's and finals that have been decided on penalties, you would have to say yes.: Do things that have happened in the game affect your decision when facing a pen?RG: Maybe. A great deal of it is psychological. Players start to try more tricks and get more confident when they are 4-0 up than 1-0 down, so this can affect how they take their kick. Sometimes you can think about it too much, however there are a number of factors involved.: Do you think goalkeepers have an advantage in taking pens as they know what the opposite number is looking for?RG: Yeah, I don't see why not. I have obviously never taken one in a game, however I would be confident enough if asked. As a keeper you know where it is difficult to save and you know if you hit it hard enough it is difficult to stop. A high penalty is hard to stop as a keeper doesn't dive up. Recently against Hull, even though I went the right way for a Bullard penalty it went in the roof of the net, I had no chance!: Would you take a pen in the World Cup final if required?RG: Yes! I would happily take a pen wheneverI am called into action, for club or country.Ed: Robert was selected by Fabio Capello to start for England against Egypt on 3rd March and in a poll conducted by the Sun newspaper thereafter received the public support to be number 1 at the World Cup Finals with 33% of the votes cast.Ben Foster Faced 8 Saved 1 Percent 12.5%Chris Kirkland Faced 13 Saved 2 Percent 15.4%Robert Green Faced 22 Saved 7 Percent 31.8% Paul Robinson Faced 16 Saved 1 Percent 6.25%David James Faced 25 Saved 5 Percent 20%WORLD CUP PREVIEW WORLD CUP PREVIEW WORLD CUP PREVIEW