A Modest Proposal (and a Gimmick) for the World Cup
Now that the United States has made it farther in the World Cup than since before the Second Great War to End All Wars* [*Note to Kulturblog editorial staff: please fact check this for me.], the Americans (middle-north region) find themselves in an enviable position of being a top seed by virtue of two ties and a 1-to-nil victory brought to us by Landon Donovan in the 91st minute of a 90-minute game** [**Check this one too. That can't possibly be right. Can it?] in “group play.”
Now we enter the elimination round, something that should be much more familiar to U.S. sports fans. Sixteen teams compete in a single elimination tournament for the cup. Think of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, starting in the Sweet Sixteen round. Or the way the NCAA Division I football championship should be decided in a perfect world.
Only there’s one catch: from here on out, games can no longer end in a tie. That sounds fine, and necessary—you can’t have an elimination game without the elimination—but the current solution is less than satisfactory. If an elimination game ends after 90 minutes (plus however much the officials decide to tack on at the end of the game) [Edit: plus 30 minutes of "extra time"], and neither team has a lead, they end the game with penalty shots. This is the equivalent of having an NBA playoff game decided by a free throw competition between Kobe Bryant and Ray Allen. In short, it stinks.
So here’s my idea. I’m just throwing it out there. Footsoccerball fans around the world can thank me later, each in his or her own way. The proposal: end the game in sudden death overtime, the first team to score wins. The gimmick: pull the goalies.
What, you have a better idea?
[***Better just fact check the whole thing. Thanks.]