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Monday, July 18, 2011
U.S.A. lost? Better change the rules

One unexpected media storyline to emerge from Sunday's Women's World Cup Final is the supposed unfairness of penalty kicks as a way to decide a winner. This is silly. Maybe penalty kicks are a fair process, maybe they aren't (I don't know or care enough about the deep structure of soccer to say). But it is conspicuous that no one said anything of the sort when the U.S. won its quarterfinal match against Brazil last Sunday on penalty kicks. And certainly no one said anything when the U.S. won the 1999 World Cup final against China the same way.


Message board argument on the issue from five years ago.
Second page covers other ideas.

After 120 minutes in a one off competition something has to be done. I liked the NASL solution better than penalty kicks but any solution has to be less than real soccer because of fatigue.

Blogger Mark F -- 7/19/2011 12:09 AM  

something about the statistical chances of a team conceding a late equalizer

Anonymous puskas -- 7/19/2011 9:13 AM  

I have no problem with the game being decided by penalty kicks after an extra 30 minutes of extra time having been played.

I do think that FIFA should explore putting another referee on the field. Although, from what I've heard, FIFA actually has thought about this and rejected it.

Blogger Andy Eason -- 7/19/2011 9:33 AM  

Actually, some of us have been opposed to the "penalty kick resolution" of tie games from the day it was enacted. And that obviously predates the victory by the US Women's team by penalty kicks in 1999.

Here is one suggestion. Play the 30 minute overtime as is the rule now.

If it is still a tie game, allow each team two more substitutions to account for fatigue during the next phase of the game and play sudden death until one team scores.

Anonymous The Sports Curmudgeon -- 7/19/2011 2:13 PM  

It's the natural reaction to tragedy everyone seems to have. Something bad happens? We need a rule so that won't happen! Kind of like Haylee's Law, or the discussion of changing rules after Buster Posey got hurt. Especially true when a team loses a big game in a shootout after dominating play.

Personally I think the replay in soccer is underrated. No winner after extra time? Play another game in a few days. Only after that to you go to pens.

Blogger Jon M -- 7/21/2011 10:53 PM  

I think the Sports Curmudgeon's idea moves us in the right direction. Whether it will cause matches to drag on too long, well, it probably will, but it's hard to fathom that a lifetime of effort comes down to a handful of penalty kicks. Hits off the crossbar during regular time, fine. Errant shot, fine. But penalty kicks? Come on now.

Anonymous Book Editor -- 7/22/2011 8:08 PM  

As Jon M. notes, this is another example of the trend of making rules to respond to events (I wrote about the Posey situation when it). What was striking to me about this case(and this also responds to the Sports Curmudgeon's point), is that the cries in this case are coming from the mainstream media (Around the Horn and PTI both talked about it the day I wrote the original post), which generally don't care about soccer. I guess I would distinguish cries for change from those quarters, as opposed to those interests that a) follow soccer closely and b) have been talking about this for some time.

Blogger Howard Wasserman -- 7/24/2011 4:43 PM  

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