World Cup Extra Time

As I write this, the England-Portugal match is heading into penalties. That makes half the matches in the '06 quarter finals that have gone into extra time, found no resolution there and ended up in shootouts. Personally, the most boring cup final in recent memory was the Brazil-Italy '94 match, decided, you guessed it, on penalties. I really hope the current tournament doesn't turn out that way. However, given Germany's inexorable march, I am not optimistic.

This kind of resolution to a match is unfair. Often, it is decided by the players who are barely standing, played as they have through ninety minutes of regular time and thirty of extra time. The end result is a pure lottery. You might as well have players draw grass from the pitch and see who gets the shortest. No, I think there are other, more creative solutions FIFA should consider. Here's a couple: send a player off from each team for every five minutes of extra time and it has to start with the goalkeepers. That way, even the most staunch defense will eventually be reduced to two men from opposing teams duking it out. Another: why not extend the goal by two feet on either side every five minutes? Perhaps when the goal posts span the entire penalty box, we'll finally see some shots going in.

Update: Portugal won 3-1 on penalties. I can only hope the Brazil-France match will be more entertaining. Nothing is worse than a goalless two hours of football decided this way.

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- July 1, 2006 10:22 AM // Sports