You’ve just played 120 minutes of soccer. You and your ten team-mates have given everything, left your hearts on the pitch. You want this win badly, you know it means a beautiful trophy and lots of glory, you could write your name into the history books and become part of a legend. You’re battered and bruised, everything hurts, but you keep playing on, on adrenaline keeps you going. This team game now goes into a one on one shoot-out, it’s no longer a team sport, but an individual showdown.If you miss, you become a goat, letting your team down. If you score, you go down in history. You’ve prepared yourself mentally for this, you’re the all important fifth shooter. You know where your going to place the ball, you’re ready to give your team victory. Only, you never get the chance to shoot. Two of your team mates miss their shots, the enemy converts all theirs. It’s over, you;ve lost and there is nothing you can do about it.
Penalty shoot-outs are a horrible thing, I have been on both sides. I’ve scored in a victory, and missed the only penalty in a defeat. It is a horrible feeling when you miss. Penalties go against everything soccer is really about. 11 players all shoulder responsibility and help each other play the beautiful game, they all have their roles to play. Shoot-outs turn a game into an individual sport, it;s unfair. The advantage immediately goes to the attacking players. Defenders train everyday to learn how to defend, not to take a spot kick. In a game where there are so many ways to play, penalty kicks transform soccer into a one-dimensional sport. All that matters is how well you can place a ball. All the other components such as passing and dribbling become obsolete. Since shoot-outs only happen in knockout tournaments, the stakes are always win or go home. You can not prepare for this in training, nothing will properly prepare you for the moment. When all that pressure ways on you, it’s easy to lose your cool and miss. Penalty shootouts are not good for the game of soccer, but they’re here to stay. What else could possibly take their place?
It’s been a hot topic throughout the footballing world on what could replace penalty shoot-outs.
Golden Goal? That could take literally hours, because a goal is needed for the game to end. At least with a shootout you are guaranteed a winner, and it will not take as long to find it out.
Reducing the number of players? Opens up the game, yet it also tires out the players. After playing for 90 minutes one is already exhausted, the less players on the field, the more running you have to do. Not many players are physically up to that.
Stat Counter? This method goes by shots or possession or number of corners. This is also unfair because a team can be playing many different styles. This rewards the teams that put on high pressure and puts a handicap on the teams that play the counter. The stats do not always justify how a game is going.
Love it or hate it, the penalty kicks system is best method soccer has right now. It has many, many flaws and is defiantly not ideal, but it is the most fair way of deciding a game. The most fair, but still not fair.Putting the fate of a team game on individuals is just not good for the game, but it is the only system that works, we’re stuck with it