Is there a less satisfying ending to a major sporting event like the world cup than watching the goalie of your favorite team dive the wrong way as the ball floats into the other end of the net? Especially when the weaker team played keep away for the whole match just to reach penalty kicks? Penalty kicks make sense during the match when there's a penalty when the player had a good chance of scoring. But to determine the match? Not so much. Apparently before penalty kicks they used to flip a coin to determine the winner so clearly the heads of soccer aren't too creative. But let's come up with several better solutions:
1. Simply move the ball back a few feet to give the goalie a chance at stopping it other than sheer luck. Some 80% of penalty kick shots in the world cup go in. Why not move the ball back until it's 50%? Even 20% would make more sense than 80%. Move it back right to the point when most goalies would rather wait until the ball is kicked to start their movement. This would reduce the luck factor considerably.
2. After a scoreless overtime, gradually reduce the number of players on the field (say every 5 or 10 minutes you remove 1 or 2 players per side). Less players means more open space and this will greatly increase the likelihood that a goal will be scored.
3. Have two on ones. Or maybe three on ones. The defending team will have their goalie and one defender while the offensive team has two or three shooters. Each team would have 5 chances each. No doubt that would be an exciting finish and retain more of a team effort than the shootout.
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