UEFA experiment new ABBA penalty shootout system

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Before England’s 1-0 defeat to Germany in March, Gareth Southgate showed his players a video of a pertinent moment in his football career.

Southgate produced a clip of his penalty miss against Germany at Euro 2016, which proved fatal as they crashed out of Euro 1996 at the semi-final stage.

Twenty-one years have passed since that heartbreaking miss and only a brave man would willingly dust off the cobwebs and show it to a group of players who are supposed to follow your leadership.

"He didn’t go into much detail but he wanted it to be on there to show how far he has come as well,” England striker Jamie Vardy said, via the Mirror.

“Obviously him being in that situation to have his knowledge of that can benefit us quite a lot.”

Everyone knows about England’s dire record in penalty shootouts. The Three Lions have emerged from just one shootout in seven attempts at major tournaments.

It’s hard to replicate the tension that a major shootout brings, hence why there’s no extensive FA initiative to make the England national team good at penalties.

But if UEFA’s new overhaul of the penalty shootout finds its way onto the senior international stage, they might not have to do anything at all.

UEFA's new system

UEFA are testing a new system at the European Under-17 Championship that they believe will make shootouts fairer.

The new system, called ‘ABBA’, is similar to the tie-break in tennis.

How it works

Currently teams take it in turns in a shootout. So, team A goes first, then team B, then A again.

But in the new system, team A would go first followed by team B - before team B takes another turn.

Team A would then have two successive attempts and it would continue with both teams taking two penalties until there’s a winner.

Teams going first have an unfair advantage

The idea behind the change is to prevent the team that goes second from having to, potentially, play catch-up for the entire shootout. Research apparently showed that the team that goes first has an unfair advantage as they win 60 per cent of shootouts, according to BBC Sport.

"The hypothesis is that the player taking the second kick in the pair is under greater mental pressure," said UEFA.

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