Analysis of direct free kicks in the women's football World Cup 2007
Alcock, A 2010, 'Analysis of direct free kicks in the women's football World Cup 2007', European Journal of Sport Science, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 279-284.
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The location and outcome of all free kicks taken directly at goal in the 2007 women's football World Cup were assessed to identify areas with the most goal-scoring potential and assist with tactical decisions and training design. Video of all free kicks taken directly at goal in the 32 games was captured and the location of the ball on the pitch was calculated from pitch markings and image pixel coordinates using a customized curve-fitting method. The outcome of each free kick was determined and for those that resulted in a goal or were saved, information on ball flight time and the placement of the ball relative to the goal was reported. All seven free kicks that resulted in a goal were taken from a central area within 7 m of the penalty circle, placed at the edge of the goal within approximately 1 m of the goalpost, and had an average flight time of 1.09 s, which was significantly faster than for those that were saved. All free kicks directed towards the bottom and centre of the goal resulted in straightforward saves for the goalkeeper. It is recommended that teams should consider a direct shot from free kicks awarded within 7 m of the penalty circle. For free kicks from wide areas and areas further from the goal, players should be aware of their individual ability and only take a shot when they perceive the probability of scoring a goal to be high. Otherwise, alternative attacking strategies should be considered to avoid an easy turnover of possession.