English fans must have every reason in the world to curse the moment FIFA chose penalty shootouts as the best way to settle drawn matches in knockout football.
Shootouts were authorised by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in June 1970 and subsequently adopted universally by each confederation.
The strong British element within FIFA's law-making arm would have had no idea what pain and heartbreak the decision would cause to their own compatriots down the years.
Great Britain's elimination from the Olympic men's tournament by Korea Republic on penalties at the weekend brought home the English fans' familiar feeling of hopelessness and frustration.
This was technically a 'British' not an 'English' defeat but England's reputation as a shootout choker was not lost on the Korean coach.
Hong Myung-Bo remarked after the match in Cardiff that “we knew they were weak at penalty shootouts and if it went that far, it was a good opportunity for us”.
Shootouts have often been described as football's version of Russian roulette but there is more to penalties than meets the eye and it's about time we stop dismissing them as lotteries.
There is no denying that the English game has developed a penalty phobia but its interests would be better served if the football family stops feeling sorry for itself and starts recognising that winning shootouts has more to do with preparation and application than mere luck.
It lost all three World Cup shootouts to Portugal in 2006, Argentina in 1998 and West Germany in 1990.
It also lost three European championship shootouts to Italy in 2012, Portugal in 2004 and Germany in 1996 with its only success coming against Spain in 1996.
Shootouts can play on the minds of the most experienced professionals and I will never forget the sight of Italy's Franco Baresi, one of football's hardest and most uncompromising defenders, letting his emotions get the better of him after missing his penalty against Brazil in the 1994 World Cup final.
The list of famous players who have missed crucial kicks could make a world XI: Socrates, Michel Platini, Roberto Baggio, Marco Van Basten, Paolo Maldini, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Steve Gerrard and Andrij Shevchenko and our own Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka have all been humbled by the special demands of a shootout situation.
All this reinforces the theory that the mindset governing shootouts is as much a part of modern football as all the other more apparent skills and tactics.
The Germans have been involved in six shootouts in major events, winning five.
A close look at Germany's individual record makes interesting reading.
German players have taken a total of 28 kicks over 36 years and missed only twice: Uli Hoeness in 1976 and Uli Stielike in 1982.
This extraordinary return would suggest that shootouts are no throw of the dice but an exercise in combining temperament and ability in a pressure-cooker situation.
Many players certainly have the composure or the skill to put a penalty away but few of them display these two key qualities at the same time and when the chips are down, as the Germans have shown us over the years.
English fans also can draw some comfort from the fact that their country is in good company when it comes to shootouts and they are not the only ones to feel hard done by.
England's international record gives it a 14 per cent success rate.
Yet Romania lost its two World Cup shootouts against Republic of Ireland in 1990 and Sweden in 1994 for a nil per cent rate.
Netherlands is not too much better off with a 20 per cent rate from one World Cup defeat against Brazil in 1998 and a 1-3 record in the European championships.
Iran has never been involved in a World Cup shootout but has a 2-5 record in the AFC Asian Cup for a 29 per cent rate.
Italy only recently improved its record to a semi-respectable 38 per cent which comes from figures of 1-3 in the World Cup and 2-2 in the Euros.
The world's shootout specialists are Saudi Arabia and Czech Republic.
The Saudis have won four out of four and the Czechs three out of three but none of these shootouts came in a World Cup.
Germany has an unblemished record of 4-0 in World Cup football but is 1-1 in Europe for a mark of 83 per cent.
PS: For the record Australia has been involved in three shootouts.
It beat Canada and Uruguay in World Cup playoffs in 1993 and 2005 and lost to Japan in the 2007 Asian Cup.
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