It a pretty safe bet at least one of the last three matches of the World Cup (the stupid third-place match doesn’t exist to me) will end with two teams picking five players and taking undefended shots 12 yards from goal.
It’s like finishing a basketball game with a free throw shooting contest. It’s so idiotic, it’s somewhat amazing the penalty shootout has lasted as long as it has (It’s been around in international competitions since 1970. Before that, they had replays and even drew lots. No, you didn’t misread that, THEY DREW LOTS!). Trying to a determine a world champion by a shooting contest is completely unacceptable. This needs to be fixed. And, as the headline suggests, I know how to.
It’s simple. After 90 minutes, the tied teams start playing 10-minute periods. At the end of each period, each team has to take one player off the field of their choosing. So for the first extra time period (between the 90th and 100th minute) each team plays with 10 players (if no one has been sent off). For the second period, nine versus nine; for the third, eight versus eight; for the fourth, seven versus seven and so on. After the fourth overtime (130th minute), there will be no offsides.
The match ends when someone has the lead after one of the 10-minute periods ends (or, it could be golden goal, either way is cool with me).
With less players on the field the game will open up and lead to more chances on goal. Defensive teams won’t be able to surround their own goal forever and be forced to try and score, which will open up even more space. If the match is still tied after 130 minutes (which I’m guessing would rarely happen), not having offsides will open up the game further.
It’s not perfect. The best solution is to play 90 minutes, have two 15-minute extra time periods and if the match is still tied, both teams come back four days later and do it all over again. This, obviously, is logistically impossible (venues, schedules, television, tickets, sponsors, ect.), so the result has to be determined the same day the match begins.
I also realize soccer is meant to be played 11 versus 11, not eight versus eight or even three versus three. But, unlike in a shootout, the tied teams still have to use the skills they’ve honed since they were kids (passing, heading, dribiling, shooting, ect.) instead of just placing a ball on a white spot and firing a shot.
“The Survivor Extra Time” (can’t decide if that’s a good name for it or not), should also be extremely exciting. Not only on the field, with chances coming fast furious, but off the field too. Coaches will have to continually make tactical changes and everyone watching will have an opinion on who the coach should “eliminate” next.
There’s also the .0001 percent chance neither team scores in the first 10 extra times and the match ends with the two goalies going one v one. If it ever happens, it will be the most entertaining 10 minutes in the history of mankind.
(Note: For those of you asking yourself, “Well, what happens if the match is still tied after all the players are eliminated?” First, you’re a dork and second the last two players (persumably the goalies) can’t get eliminated. Also, after 90 minutes, the head referee will trade places with the fourth official (why don’t they already do this?).
Maybe someone can think of a better solution to the penalty shootout problem, but almost anything is exponentially better than the current format. Most everyone agrees the penalty shootout is a crazy way to determine a winner but there is little discussion on how to effectively change it. Most of the soccer progressives are focused on goal-line technology and instant replay, but I think there’s nothing more insane in the modern game than penalty shootouts. Just because it’s been around for awhile doesn’t mean it should continue.
Unfortunately, FIFA is more against change than Congressional Republicans (that’s right, I went there), so I have little hope penalty shootouts are going to end anytime soon.
Germany to beat Spain in 90 minutes (+145) — $10 — to win $14.50
Hit both of my bets for Friday’s semifinals and I didn’t touch Saturday’s matches. I did lose my Luis Fabiano leading goal scorer future bet and my World Cup lock turned out to be a push (Kaka scoring more goals than Sergio Aguero — neither scored). So going into to the final three matches I’m in the black!
Individual matches: 4-8 (made $16)
Prop bets: 0-1 (lost $5)
Parlays: 1-2 (lost $15.68).
Over\Under: 3-2 (made $26.59).
Future: 1 pending, 4 wins, 4 losses, 1 push — made $2.33 — $23 invested
Total: Made $23.86.
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