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Game theory and Barthez' penalty save

One of the subplots in yesterday's tempest of a match between France and England was Barthez' acrobatic save of Beckham's penalty in the 73rd minute. England were up 1-0 and a second goal might have put the game to bed.

Beckham is a world-class striker of the ball, and he hit the penalty shot crisply. But Barthez was at his right post in a flash and pushed the ball to safety - he'd guessed right, gotten lucky. Or did he? France reveal penalty plan, reports the BBC:

France defender Mikael Silvestre has revealed that team-mate Fabien Barthez had watched videos of David Beckham's penalty-taking prior to Sunday's win.

Barthez brilliantly saved England captain Beckham's second-half spot-kick to keep France in the game at 1-0.

"We had a look at all the penalties he took and he was always taking them this way," said Silvestre after France's last-gasp 2-1 win.

"So Fabien did a good job. He went to his right and it was a great save."

Full credit to Barthez and the French. It would appear though, that Beckham could have profitably traded the time it took to get one or two of his nine tattoos for a short lesson in game theory.