Penalty Kick Statistics at Fifa World Cups – Expected Goals


Next time the referee awards a penalty kick, don’t celebrate just yet. The chances of converting a penalty are not as good as you might think they are.

Today, as I watched the Fifa World Cup games I witnessed two missed penalty shots. Messi was denied by Iceland’s goalie Halldórsson and Christian Cueva of Peru missed the net against Denmark. I decided to do a quick expected goals analysis of penalty kicks in World Cup and see if they are different from those in leagues.

From 1934 to 2018 there were a total of 214 penalties awarded and 172 goals from penalties scored. Thats 80.3% conversion rate or 0.803 expected goals per penalty kick. This is fairly similar to the penalty kick statistics in EPL0.78 xG

How important is the goalie during a penalty kick? Not that important… Out of all the penalties only 12% were saved and in 7.4% of the cases the penalty taker missed the net.

I also looked at the penalty kick statistics during shootouts. Out of 240 penalties taken during the world cup shootout, only 170 were converted. That’s 70.8% conversion or an expected goal of 0.708

So probabilities of scoring during a penalty shootout are much lower, as you would expect. Players are quite tired and you have at least five penalty takers in each team. So defenders and midfielders that usually don’t take penalties have to step up.

BTW I noticed that the Bet365 offers a 1.22 odds on a penalty. That implies a probability of 82%. The odds of missing the penalty 4.0 or a probability of 25%. So not a good value during the games, but if they will be offering same odds during the penalty shootout, this can be a value bet. I wonder if the betting companies have discovered it. I will check and and will report back.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here