It’s time to give penalty shootouts the boot

-

Penalty shoot-outs suck.

Imagine this: you’ve been playing a game of football 120 minutes, but the score is still tied. After all of your hard work, running up and down the field, making vital challenges, shooting and crossing and passing, the result of the game comes down to one kick – and the odds of your team winning aren’t even 50/50.

Penalty shootouts completely conflict with the nature of football.

It becomes one player versus another. An individual against an individual. Football is a team sport, where players rely on each other, work together and communicate to win games. In a penalty shootout, one bad kick, or one good save, can completely change the result of the game. The shootout is dependent on luck, and not football skills – if the keeper dives the wrong way, you could literally pass the ball anywhere along the ground with a fair chance of scoring.

Embed from Getty Images

And now, imagine this: you’re team loses the coin toss, so the opposition gets to take the first kick. Your chances of winning the game have just decreased to 40%.

I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. You’d assume that both teams have an equal chance of winning, but in reality, if you shoot first, your odds have just sky-rocketed to 60%. Why, you ask? When you shoot first, you put pressure on the kickers of the opposing team. The team that goes second has a statistically lower shooting percentage, and worse odds of leading in penalties after each round.

You can watch the A-League live for only $25 a month. Click here to read our review of Kayo Sports and to start your 14-day free trial.

It’s all psychological. 90% of teams prefer to kick first, because they feel there is less pressure on the kicker.

And another reason why shootouts suck – If you are unlucky enough to be the goalkeeper in this dreaded situation, you’ll experience five times the angst as you stand between two white sticks with a player firing at you from 12 yards – and best believe your whole team will be livid if you don’t dive to keep their shots out of the net.

Embed from Getty Images

They say if you want to get rid of penalty shootouts, you need to come up with an alternative – so I’ve done it.

Instead, we should remove one player from the field every five minutes. The game becomes based on fitness and longevity, in a fun and exciting ‘survival of the fittest’ fashion. This way the game is still interesting for spectators, and it’s finished on a high when the ‘Golden Goal’ is scored.

I’m not saying my ‘Hunger Games’ tactic is flawless, but it’s better than enduring an unfair and heart-wrenching penalty shoot-out. Surely we don’t want our biggest games to be decided by luck, who kicks first, and a coin toss?

Feature Image Credit: Ngai Kai Yan 

Latest Articles

Adelaide United 2019/20 W-League season preview

Adelaide United gained the respect of the competition last season by missing out on a finals spot by only one point. Can they progress even...

Melbourne City 2019/20 W-League season preview

Last season Melbourne City fell short of claiming a fourth straight championship, narrowly missing the finals. Can this powerhouse club bounce back up the table...
mm
Lani Johnson
Bachelor of journalism student from the University of Sydney covering Sydney FC. Passionate about writing and football.