World Cup Football Matches – Golden Goal Alternatives to Prevent Penalty Shootouts

After seeing the second World Cup final decide by penalty shootout, the four previous ones were also decided this way. Sepp Blatter (the all-powerful FIFA president) has stated that penalties should be replaced and that he doesn’t want matches, or more specifically World Cup matches, to end in this way. But the problem is, what’s the alternative?

The first attempt at adapting and possibly avoiding penalties was made in 1996, in the European Championship. This tournament will be a lasting memory for any Englishman. The so-called “Golden Goal” was a way to play out extra time, but every goal would win the game instantly. It’s basically an adult version of the childhood favorite “next goal wins”. This was probably inspired by the 1994 World Cup final in Pasadena between Brazil and Italy.

Personally, I recall Gianluca Pagliuca, the Italian goalkeeper, fumbling a brazilian attempt. It rebounded back to the upright. This saved Sampdoria’s former stopper from an embarrassing moment that would have been immortalized in Christmas ‘blooper’ videos for many decades. The boring affair ended in penalties. South American’s won their fourth title. In the hopes that the ‘Golden Goal,’ the next major international tournament would inspire a similar reaction to its playground roots in putting men forward hungry for goals, the adaption of the tournament was made. What Mr. Blatter and his many ‘yes men’ failed to recognize was the difference between a major tournament and the chaotic scene of twenty-odd twelve year-olds pushing a tennis ball into an empty bin and someone else’s bag.

It is unlikely that any of the elite footballers will be similarly disciplined by a form chief should proceedings go beyond their control. The 1996 tournament’s ‘Golden Goal’ only saw one match settled before penalties were necessary. Even that was in the final when Oliver Bierhoff from Germany won to send bavarians into a frenzy singing Three Lions, our summer anthem 스포츠중계. The idea of avoiding penalties was used again in 1998’s World Cup in France. Only one fixture was decided this way (Laurent Blanc’s strike in the second round to end Paraguay’s hopes). This idea was flawed because the pressure to lose by conceding was greater than the risk of scoring. Therefore, the game turned out more negative despite France benefiting from it in the European Championship final 2000 when David Trezeguet broke hearts with an incredible strike.

With a few exceptions, it has been argued that these’sudden deaths’ periods of extra-time actually prevent, rather than provoke, attacking play. As the fear of losing outweighs any risks involved in going forward to hunt a winning goal, The FIFA think tank decided to change this idea. It came up with the cleverly named ‘Silver Goal’. This was a more complicated version of the predecessor. A side that leads during the extra time would win the tie at that point. The result was more shootouts and games becoming more negative. Despite efforts to avoid the inevitable “twelve yard lottery”, it was still the most popular way to decide fixtures that were equal after ninety minutes.

These suggestions were dropped and, for 2006, we returned to the half-hour of extra time without any of the old stipulations and, of course, we had more penalties. What is the solution? Replays are impossible due to time and schedule constraints. Many different ideas have been put forward to address this problem. One theory is that players should be removed at regular intervals in order to create more space and more chances.

FIFA is said to be exploring the possibility of this idea. There are concerns that there could be a situation where only four or two players remain on the pitch. It would certainly be a spectacler’s dream, but it must be considered practical. It could make the absurd ‘extra-timemulti-ball’ advertisement by an American beer company a viable proposition if it is viewed in this way. Another criticism of penalties is that the penalty’s scoring skill is not representative of the whole team.

This is evident and best illustrated in the 1991 European Cup Final, when a star-studded Olymique Marseilles team lost to Red Star Belgrade of then Yugoslavia. The Serbian outfit played the whole game with the intention of winning on penalties.

Leave a Comment