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A simple adjustment in soccer, that can enormously improve the number of goals scored!


(this article refers to the highest level of professional soccer and top youth teams)

I’ve been involved in soccer for more than 50 years and being a soccer lover, I’m able to enjoy a 0-0 tie, if the game was full of great opportunities and the teams gave everything in trying to achieve victory.

But a 0-0, often, is not the result of these kinds of games. It’s the result of a game in which the 2 teams where focused on ONLY one thing:

NOT LOSING!!!

So, both teams play very defensively and risk almost nothing. Result? Nothing exiting happens and the game is really……………………………boring!

The basic aspect that provokes this, in my opinion, is the curious fact that the 2 teams, after a 0-0, will have 1 point that in some way will ’move’ their position in the standing. 1 point, is undoubtedly better than nothing! And I absolutely agree.

But, let’s think for a minute about this concept: even before starting the game, so the score is obviously 0-0, the 2 teams already have 1 point! They only need to be able to keep that score to the end! What have they done to ALREADY have that 1 point, before starting the game?

Nothing!

In my opinion, this is wrong!

So, my suggestion is this: in case of a 0-0 tie, both teams will not have points. To have 1 point, they need to deserve it by scoring! The finale score has to be a tie with goals! 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, etcetera.

This simple adjustment, will greatly improve the attitude of scoring because, no goals, no points!

Soccer is, apparently, a new game for the US and the spectators, are not always able to appreciate a great game that ends 0-0. In the many occasions in which I was talking about soccer with people that had seen just a few games, they often say: “They never score. What a boring sport.” People identify a spectacular game, by the number of goals that were scored.

Honestly, I can’t say that they are 100% wrong. There is some truth in what they say. The moment in which a team scores is something unique and great, and if the other team comes back it’s another moment that fills the air with great enthusiasm.

The actual strategy of the top teams in the world, is constructed around this principle: First don’t lose. If we win, even better!

So, the formation 1-4-4-2, that a few years ago was the most common, and that was ALREADY a very defensive strategy, evolved in a more defensive attitude like, 1-4-3-2-1 (the famous Christmas Tree formation of A.C. Milan), until the more defensive 1-5-4-1!

All the greatest teams, decided to renounce a pure forward, so they play with only one, and add a mid fielder who can go forward and score, when the team counter attacks!

Very often, the only pure forward, is there in front by himself, always waiting for the right assist, and always living on the offside line hoping to beat the defenders (backs). Players like Drogba, Inzaghi, Gilardino, Adriano or VanNistelroy, are classic examples.

So, I was saying that the teams are focused on basically not losing. If they tie they’ll have 1 point, if they score 1 goal, and are able to defend it, they will have 3 points!

The main result of this attitude is: no goals, or sometime just 1.

The unequivocal proof that this is a fact, is the last Asian Cup. The 2 Semi-final games, plus extra time, ended 0-0. This means 4 hours of soccer at the highest level in the world, without seeing a goal! And the score of the Final was 1-0. So, at the final stage of a continental cup, just 1 goal in 5.5 hours! Even if this is comprehensible at a semi-final and final level of a tournament, it’s not acceptable when this happens in a season at a high level, like La Liga, Premier League, Serie A or Bundesliga. The MLS is different, because here we play the ‘play-off’!

When a team is winning 1-0 or 2-0 at 15/20 minutes to the end, they have only one thing in mind: bring the victory home. So, they take out the ONLY forward and put in a midfield or another defender (back). End of story. They will hardly pass half field anymore, and the other teams will have to find a way to beat an impenetrable defensive wall!

I think that there is a simple and realistic way to avoid this attitude and promote more scoring. And that is to give a value to the goals that were scored during the game, independently of winning or losing.

So, the team that as won, will be given the 3 points for that, but also 1 point for every goal that was scored! The interesting aspect is that even the team that has lost, will have 1 point for every goal that they have scored!

In doing this, even if the game is lost for a team, they will fight until the end because, by scoring, they will have 1 or 2 points, that will improve their situation in the standing. Also, the team that is still winning, for sure will continue pushing to collect other points and improve their leading in the top of the standing!

This way, the standing will be much more dynamic and not crystallized in fixed positions for months, with the only objective being to expect the direct games against the other teams at the top of the standing to put some distance between them or to try to get closer. Or much worse, to limit the damage by tying 0-0 and keeping the same position sure to get the 3 points against the other teams easily beatable! Also, at the bottom of the standing, teams will never be ‘mathematically’ cut out because they can’t reasonably come out from the relegation zone. They can score 3 or 4 goals in each of the final games, and maybe ‘survive’ being relegated!

Many more goals, more enjoyable games, more ups and downs in the standing in a fluid situation that can change every week-end of the season, more spectators, more interest from the media, more opportunity for players to show their ‘magic’ in a less crowded defensive situation and, much more important, more………………………… SOCCER!

Naturally, this is only my opinion and, as is said at the beginning of every news letter, it’s my weekly point of view. A point of view of a soccer ‘addicted’ who’s walked on a soccer field, almost everyday, for the last 53 years!

So, 3 points for the victory plus 1 point for every goal scored, (by both teams) and no points for a 0-0 tie!

Would you like to share YOUR point of view? Hope so!

Obviously, all of the above, refers to REAL soccer games, played among players at the same level of skills. Scores like 10-0, 15-0, 20-0, that often happen in the USA, have NOTHING to do with soccer. This just happens, because we continue with the absurdity of permitting youth teams, with an ENOURMOUS difference in soccer skills among them, to play together in the same divisions or tournaments.

This sport is called: embarrassing kids and should not be allowed anymore! Unfortunately, even in my country, this still happens. In a recent tournament, the U11 team of Inter Milan (so, not A.C. Milan!!!!), won a game 40-0 and in the 4 games of the tournament, scored 104 goals!!! I understand that kids sometimes, even without realizing it, are very cruel, but it’s unacceptable that the coaches don’t tell them to stop scoring and develop other topics like possession, use only the week foot, score only with the head after a cross, and so on.

But this, is not the topic of this article, and I’ve already written about it many other times.

Coach G.

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Posted on 24 Oct 2007 by coachgianni
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