'Spaghetti legs' give goalkeepers the edge

GOALKEEPING legend Bruce Grobbelaar's famous "spaghetti legs" could be the answer to saving penalties, scientists have revealed.

The former Liverpool goalkeeper's crazy antics were critical to his team's victory in the 1984 European Cup final against AS Roma, research suggests.

The findings show that Grobbelaar stole a march on scientists when he invented his wobblyknees tactic.

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The research, conducted at the University of Exeter last year, proved that if a kicker's eyes are drawn to the goalkeeper, he tends to shoot in that direction.

Overcoming this tendency was significantly harder when penalty takers were under pressure, or in a "threat condition".

Psychologist Greg Wood, who led the study, said: "The research shows that we focus on things in the environment that we find threatening. In penalty kicking the only thing that threatens success is the goalkeeper, so we monitor his movements. Our findings suggest we should try to ignore the goalkeeper."

Mr Wood had this advice for England's penalty takers: "Look where you're going to hit the ball."