Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Simple solution to the penalty kick problem

This World Cup provided lots of excitement, but the way it ended left many with a sour taste in their mouth (and no, I'm not talking about Zidane).

To have the greatest single sport competition on Earth come down to a bad kick by one French player is a little cruel, but strangely so very French. Right after the game I wrote that I think penalty kicks were a good way to decide it. I said this not because I wanted it decided that way or because I love shootouts, but because I would prefer to see pks then a goal scored in the 186th minute due to some exhausted player playing sloppy soccer.

A few people left comments here and others sent me email saying that they could not agree less. Their main point was that at the World Cup, the game should be decided during the run of play.

Well what do you know, there is an easy solution to both these issues. Do away with penalty kicks, and keep playing 15-minute overtime periods till a team wins. However, to keep exhaustion from taking over, each time should get one extra sub per 15-minute overtime period.

After 120-minutes, coaches could have subbed out 5 of their players (3 from regular time and 2 from the two overtime periods). That means that half of their field players could have 'fresh' legs.

This would keep players from becoming completely exhausted, thus preventing sloppy soccer. In addition, it would give the advantage to teams with deeper benches. Finally, since a team would have to score in order to win, they could not just put 10 guys behind the ball and wait it out.

Seems to me like an easy solution that would do away with a part of the game no one really likes.

The only possible thing I could see wrong with it is what would you do if the game went into 13 overtime periods. After 270-minutes, each team would have been allowed 12 subs. Since you start with 11 players and you are only allowed to bring 23, that would mean there would be nobody left to go in. Maybe after 4 and a half hours of soccer, they allow players who have come out to go back in. What a match that would be.


Anonymous JB said...

Not a bad suggestion on the 'keeping'em playing' idea but with additional subs but this should be done in conjunction with re-instating the golden goal. I love soccer and am basically a traditionalist but whole heartily disagree with playing out the extra time until the end (esp two 15 min periods even if one team scored in the first). The game is basically a low scoring game (esp in the WC) so if anyone puts in a goal in extra time, that should be it....

11:10 AM  

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