Teams

Euro 2020 sees an increase in penalty shoot-outs

Games being decided on penalty shoot-outs became a significant feature of the recently finished Euro 2020 tournament. Not only were they used as the determining factor in resolving the final game they were also used in three games previous to the final to resolve the respective ties. Spain, for example advanced against Switzerland in the quarter-final but fell in the shoot-out to Italy in the semi-final. With UEFA's decision to abolish the away goal rule, I'm convinced we'll see many games resolved from the spot next season across the three major club European competitions. It's a manner of deciding a contest which does include elements of luck and no doubt will become a future feature of training activities when knock-out stages are reached by participating teams.

Sin tituloSpain's forward Alvaro Morata (R) shoots and misses in a penalty shootout during the UEFA EURO 2020 semi-final football match between Italy and Spain at Wembley Stadium in London on July 6, 2021. (Photo by FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA / POOL / AFP)

Spot kick deciders

The number of Euro 2020 games being resolved from 12 yards prompted me to observe some of the initiatives being thrown about on how to make LaLiga more interesting. My idea would be the following: a losing team would gets 0 points, after a draw at full time, there would be a shoot-out with the team that loses the spot-kick contest getting one point. The winners of the shoot-out would be awarded two points and the current three points for the winners of the contest as is currently the case. Penalty kicks contests make for gripping viewing and could be a way of luring a younger demographic. It would also make clubs spend more time on studying the science of the shoot-out and would help Spanish clubs when then competing in Europe.

Euro 2020 - Final - Italy v EnglandSoccer Football - Euro 2020 - Final - Italy v England - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - July 11, 2021 Italy's Gianluigi Donnarumma saves a penalty from England's Bukayo Saka to win the penalty shootout REUTERS/Carl Recine TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Look to the future

I brokered this initiative to both Javier Tebas and Luis Rubiales (heads of LaLiga and the Spanish FA respectively) and they mulled over the proposal in a positive manner. Tebas told me that such a proposal would need to be fed through he FA with Rubiales adding that any such initiative would need to be filtered and approved via IFAB initially. This is what Russian football did back in the day long before other major European leagues followed suite in awarding three points for the winner of a game as a stimulus to boost attacking play. This proposal could also promote more offensive play and also sharpen up teams for the shoot-outs of the future that will certainly play more and more and a determining role in the game of football in major tournaments.