Psychological Momentum in Football: The Impact of a Last-Minute Equalizer in a Knock-Out Match

den Hartigh, R. J. R., van Yperen, N. W. & Gernigon, C., 2020, In : Science and Medicine in Football. 4, 3, p. 178-181 4 p.

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What could be the impact of a last-minute equalizer on players’ psychological momentum (PM) in a high-stake, knock-out football match? In the current study, 86 competitive male players were asked to imagine that they were playing in a cup final in which they were trailing 1-0 or leading 1-0. Subsequently, participants watched a video clip in which their team or the opponent team scored the equalizer either in the 61st minute or 92nd minute (i.e., last-minute) of regular playing time. Participants indicated their PM after the equalizer. Although the situation became objectively neutral (1-1), results showed that PM was higher when players’ own team scored than when the opponent team did. More importantly, the equalizer had a particularly big impact on PM when the goal was scored last-minute. These results provide a better understanding of PM processes in football, and may explain the euphoria or despair of football players after a last-minute equalizer in a high-stake match.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-181
Number of pages4
JournalScience and Medicine in Football
Issue number3
Early online date17-Sep-2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Psychological momentum, sport psychology, knock-out match, resilience, coping

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