Grassroots Coaching

Alternative to Penalty shoot outs

With the World Cup about to start, we the fans and the teams will be faced with the lottery of penalty shoot outs. How many times have we seen inferior teams defending for their lives to hang on and try to get to a penalty shoot out?  Seeing it as their best chance of winning. The result? Not always does the better team progress through the competition and the competition is somewhat diminished. As an England fan, I am of course biased, because we have suffered so often from defeat in a game we should have won, because we have lost the penalty shoot out.

Arguably, a better, fairer and more exciting alternative would be at the start of extra time, both teams have to take a player off and play 10 v 10. The first team to score wins. After 5 minutes, in a natural break in the game, both teams have to take another player off, playing 9 v 9. This then continues, every 5 minutes until the game reaches 7 v 7 and continues at 7 v 7 until one team scores.

This would provide a real test of the managers’ tactical knowledge, the fitness of the players and would open the game up with the reduced number of players on the pitch.

So for example, the classic England V Germany game. The semi final of the World Cup. The game is drawn at the end of 90 minutes. England have to take a player off, who is going to be? Endless debate in the T.V studio, at homes and pubs throughout the country. Do we take off a defender, midfield player or an attacker? Who are the fittest players and best equipped for this situation?

Five minutes later, both teams have to take another player off. Do England save a couple of substitutions for this situation, to have fresh, fit, fast players? Imagine getting to 7 v 7, first team to score wins. The team that have the strongest, fittest, fastest and most skilful players will have a definite advantage. This would favour the best teams and players and provide a real test, an exciting spectacle and would be a much fairer way of deciding crucial matches.

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