The Plus Olympic calendar: Friday 10th August

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The beautiful game has been saved for last at London 2012, with the men's gold medal match taking place on Saturday, the penultimate day of the Games. There are some important questions to ponder while we sit tight in anticipation for the final match. What's the best strategy for taking a penalty kick? When is it worth committing a professional foul? And when is a goal not a goal? Find out about all this and more with our collection of football articles.

When is a goal not a goal? — Remember Frank Lampard's disallowed goal in the 2010 World Cup match against Germany? The ball hit the crossbar, landed well behind the line but then bounced out again. And it all happened too quickly for the ref to spot it was a goal. But do how these kind of (non)-goals happen and what can we do about it?

A fly walks round a football — What makes a perfect football? Find out why the ball's surface is the most prized research goal in ball design.

Eye on the ball — Why the 2006 World Cup ball caused controversy.

Blast it like Beckham? — What tactics should a soccer player use when taking a penalty kick? And what can the goalkeeper do to foil his plans? This article uses game theory to find the answers.

Formulaic football — When's the best time to make a substitution in a football match?

Understanding uncertainty: How psychic was Paul — How likely is it that Paul the octopus' accurate predictions for the 2010 World Cup were really due to psychic powers?

Mathematicians rival octopus in World Cup final prediction — Is maths better than Paul the psychic octopus?

The luck of the draw — How a mathematical improbability turned one day's football action into a once-in-a-lifetime quirk of fate.

On the ball — If your team scores first in a football match, how likely is it to win? And when is it worth committing a professional foul? This article shows us how to use probability to answer these and other questions, and explains the implications for the rules of the game.

Understanding uncertainty: Football crazy — Taking up a challenge from a BBC radio programme David Spiegelhalter and Yin-Lam Ng used their statistical finesse to predict the outcome of the last matches of the English Premier League — and they were 90% correct. Find out how they did it.

Power trip — How long do football managers' careers last and does talent matter? Surprisingly the answer may lie in mathematical power laws.

Understanding uncertainty: the Premiere League — Does a club's ranking in the Premiere League table reflect how good it really is? This article discusses the concepts of mean, variance, standard deviation and confidence intervals.

  • Want facts and want them fast? Our Maths in a minute series explores key mathematical concepts in just a few words.