Soccer: Penalty Kick Percentage across Leagues

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 24: Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon scores a penalty kick past Maarten Stekelenburg of the Netherlands during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group E match between Cameroon and Netherlands at Green Point Stadium on June 24, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Not surprisingly, penalty kick percentage varies very little across leagues:

PKs Sh%
EPL 77.8
La Liga 73.8
Ligue 1 74.9
Serie A 78.7
Bundes 77.3
Overall 76.8

Don't be fooled - Spanish players are no more likely to miss a PK. It's just a small sample size issue.

Here's the distribution of PK outcomes:

Percent
Miss Net 3.1
Post 2.8
Save 17.3
Goal 76.8

Of the 33 PKs we've seen in the World Cup so far, it's surprising to have seen four shots go wide or off the post already. We'll never get enough kicks to know if it's a real effect, but that won't stop commentators from telling us that world-class athletes fail more often under pressure.

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