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Banbury Cross

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Post details: Penalty kick in the teeth

Penalty kick in the teeth

I have to admit, I am not very fond of Italian soccer. I am also not very fond of Italian cuisine, music and cinema. That is not to say that the Italian culture is bad, it is just not my world cup of tea. It must have something to do with the fact that Italians talk too much, as Zinedine Zidane found out the hard way (and I wish it was that little provocateur Materazzi who'd be dragged through the mud by the media).

Having said all that: Congratulations Italy! No opponent found a way into their goal. Americans scored thanks to Italy's own goal and French needed a penalty kick, which I do not regard as a proper goal. And speaking of those: what bothered me most about this year's cup was the plethora of tie breakers in the form of the penalty shootout. For instance, should Trezeguet direct his kick in the last game just one centimeter lower, it would have bounced in. Think about it. It is a lottery.

So let me propose to FIFA three alternative tie-breakers, which would be fairer and more fun to watch.

1. DISAPPEARING ACT: an extra time would have two halves, played 20 minutes each. In the first there would be eight players on each side, in the second only five. With so few players on the field individual skills would gain importance and many goals would obviously be scored.

2. OCTOBER FEST: the players would drink a glass of beer every 5 minutes of extra time. After few rounds the game would become highly entertaining and plenty of scoring would certainly follow. Many of the goals being own.

3. INTERACTIVE GAME: extra time would be played by 11 volunteers from among each team's fans. They would be drawn randomly, paid some money and outfitted during the intermission. The effort of 11 middle aged men with beer bellies, poor kicking techniques and balding heads, running chaotically on the field and deciding the outcome of the most watched game on this planet would make a surefire tie-breaker and a great comedy to boot.

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