Friday, June 29, 2012
Moment of Truth
Most fans hate it.
I - as a very casual fan of the game (the World Cup every four years is plenty of the game, for my sake) - am okay with penalty kicks.
The game has to end somehow, someday.
And penalty kicks are intense and thrilling.
Soccer has many other half-remedies to help games end in a "proper" score on the pitch, if they wanted to do so. But soccer has an amazing ability to defend the utterly stupid and corrupt.
Instant replay for bang-bang goal-line calls? Nah! Why bother! We get it right... errr... MOST of the time.
How about a stadium clock that actually STARTS and STOPS with a referee signal?
Too much to ask for?
Oh, you LIKE the suspense of wondering how much "injury time" has accumulated during the match?
But I digress.
On overtime rules, here's what would make sense to me - NON-soccer fan, mind you.
1. Everything in extra time is a "golden goal." As in, sudden death, dummies. You score, you win. Go home.
2. How about allowing free subs in overtime, to allow fresh strikers to mount scoring chances?
3. How about loosening off-sides rules in overtime?
4. How about going 10 on 10, or 9 on 9 to create more lanes?
5. How about alternating "man-advantages" (i.e. 10 on 9) for 10 minute stretches, allowing the team which forced more corner kicks during regulation to get the first chance?
6. Hell, how about a series of 4 corner kicks for each team, instead of 5 vs. 5 penalty kicks?
Well, anyway. They like the system they got, otherwise they would change it.
Of course, some soccer fans actually LIKE the penalty kick device. In this article in the Wall Street Journal entitled "An Apologia for the Penalty Kick Shootout", the authors point to the fact that the more pressure tested side deserves to win a match that ends in such a pressure cooker.
Plain and simple.
I see some logic to that.
The story also has some interesting "data" from a researcher regarding high level World Cup and Euro Cup penalty kick results dating all the way back to 1976.
According to the numbers, the success rate for all PK's in these high pressure events is 75%.
However, it's 90% when a player is kicking FOR THE WIN, yet it drops to a choking dog 60% when the player is kicking TO AVOID THE LOSS.
Interesting stuff, and it might even be a big enough sample to matter.