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07th Jul 2021

Gerard Piqué is really clutching at straws after shoot-out loss

Danny Jones

The Spanish centre-back has complained that his team were at a disadvantage after going second.

Gerard Piqué, the Barcelona and former Spain centre-back, has complained that his country were at a disadvantage in last night’s penalties against Italy because they did not go first.

The Azzurri’s first penalty from Locatelli was saved by the Spanish keeper, Unai Simón, but Italy still went on to win the shootout and advance to the final of Euro 2020. Piqué, however, took to Twitter to share his thoughts on why they lost and what he thinks is wrong with the current set-up in the European Championships, as well as the Copa America:

Translated into English, this is what he had to say on the shoot-out:

“It is no coincidence that the four rounds that have been so much in the @EURO2020 like in the @CopaAmerica the team that shoots first has won. Statistics say that the former has more options and in a tournament like this it does not seem fair to me that a draw should make you start at a disadvantage.”

We’re sure he’d be saying the same if Spain went on to win it. Moreover, regardless of whether Spain took the first penalty or not, Italy had their first saved – that could surely be argued as a mental advantage as well, no?

On the other hand, the statistics he is referring to are genuine: the numbers show that the team who takes the first spot-kick tends to go on and win the shootout more often than those who go second. After Manchester United lost their shootout against Villareal in the Europa League final, Denis Vavasour shared this stat from the InnerDrive’s ‘Psychology of Perfect Penalties‘:

So, while you may have a point, what exactly would you have us do, Gerard? Someone has to take it first. Would you rather penalties be taken simultaneously at the other end of the pitch or something? Hardly makes for a coherent shootout and free-flowing limbs, does it?

There is an argument to be made that Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini psyched out Jordi Alba during the coin-toss – we couldn’t make heads or tails of what was going on either, to be honest, so there’s a chance Alba and the official didn’t either. However, the fact remains, penalty shootouts are brutal and only one team comes out on top.

We’d focus on asking who let Morata take that penalty rather than why you couldn’t go first, Gerard.

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