Making The World Cup More Interesting
Watching the United States exceed expectations in the World Cup has been fun, and each game has had its fair share of exciting moments. But for the casual soccer fan, each match basically offers five minutes of excitement packed into approximately 93 minutes. As evidenced by the Hispanic contingent at the laundromat I went to during the Germany-Ghana game this afternoon, many people can be thoroughly entertained by soccer in its’ current state. But that doesn’t mean making a few beneficial changes would hurt the game’s image. Here are a few ways I think the World Cup can change it’s rules to make the game more interesting.
There have been eleven draws in the tournament’s first eleven days. For the amount of effort the teams put into competing and the amount of time fans invest in watching, someone’s team should win and the other should lose. I’m not advocating overtime or sudden-death, as that type of rule might end up leading to a weeklong match at some point. I noticed that there is a long list of tiebreakers for determining who moves out of group play should two teams tie in points. Why not come up with some sort of tie-breakers to determine who wins a game.
1) Least flops
2) Least pouts
3) Most goals disallowed for no reason
4) Most coaches from the country of the team they coach
5) Vuvuzela duel
These individual game tie-breakers serve two purposes—to determine a clear winner at the end of each match and it cuts down the amount of ridiculous complaining. Middle school girls create less drama than international soccer matches.
Many people would tell you the thing that bores them most about soccer is the low-scoring games. Only three times in the 2010 World Cup has a team scored more than three goals in a game. Twenty-eight of the forty total games have featured two or less combined goals. So adding a dynamic to the game that increases the chances of a goal might not be the worst idea. So I recommend that once per half, for ten minutes, two extra balls are inserted into play. If a team can control all three balls at the same time, and coordinate their attacks just right, we should see a spike in goals. It’s a win for everybody.
When a team draws a red card, they play down a man for the rest of the game. This ultimately gives them an advantage, and I think soccer would do well to expand this part of the game. Except a referee sprinting up to the offending player and waving what amounts to a colored library card in his face is pretty dull. The referee might not think so, but the typical fan would.
Like the Coliseum in Rome, I think that each soccer field should contain covered pits. Hide them throughout the field and make a dozen of them. But only activate random ones for each match so the players don’t know where they are. If a player (or multiple players) fall into a pit, they’re out of commission for the rest of the half. This will serve to not only fluctuate the amount of players on the field at any given time, but also to change the strategy of the gameplay, as three 15′ by 15′ pits on the field might alter how a team attacks or defends.