Penalties


How much longer are “great minds” that run our game at FIFA & UEFA going to allow the farce that is the penalty shoot out to ruin our game?

Last weeks UEFA Cup semi final 2nd leg, was a prime example of the farce that penalties are. One team, a minnow from a small country, up against a footballing giant from a big league, realizing that they have neither the ability nor the depth to win the match, or indeed the matches, plural, puts eleven men behind the ball for the entire 120 minutes and then wins on a lottery because one player lost his nerve and put a penalty over the bar.

Make no mistake about it, Rangers win over Fiorentina was not a victory for football. It was a win for Anti football. A throw back to the dark old days of Italia 90 where a less than mediocre Argentina side won 2 penalty shoot outs on the way to the world cup final where ironically they lost to a penalty. A team who scored just 5 goals in 7 matches – the 2nd best team on the planet!!

The shot count from Fiorentina v Rangers was an astonishing 24-6. The corner count equally one sided (11 – 4) and indeed the foul count was similar with Rangers committing in excess of 30 fouls as they set out disrupting play, slowing the game down and hanging on for the lottery they hoped to – and did – win. Rangers manager Walter Smith said it all… “The philosophy is do not concede and anything is possible. A lot of people were critical of the way Rangers played but they must give us a bit of credit for getting there.”

Well no actually. I don’t. It was apparent not from the start of the 2nd leg but from the start of the 1st leg at Ibrox that Rangers were playing for two 0-0 draws! 210 minutes of not even trying to attack. And we reward that with a lottery and a cup final place?

Aren’t there better ways to decide matches? Is there really anything wrong with playing on until someone scores? For fans it would be a bonus, for TV it would be a bonus. Sure some matches may go on for an unscheduled extra hour or more but eventually a team that is attacking will score and will win. Not a team whose sole intent is to destroy the game to advance. Even Rangers would have had to try to attack at some point.

As Danny Blanchflower once said “”Football is about glory…it is about doing things in style and with a flourish…..about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom.

Watching Rangers, he must be turning in his grave

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