Tuesday, 24 October 2017
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IF THEY DON'T SCORE YOU CAN'T LOSE...BUT

I just finished watching the Women’s World Cup match between Canada and New Zealand that ended in a 0-0 tie. Although there were a few crossbars and a few great saves by the keepers, there were not that many chances manufactured by either team.

In the past, it was not uncommon for a coach to say to his or her team, “If they don’t score, you can’t lose.” Teams would play defensive soccer and hope to steal a victory with a chance goal. It was after the 1982 Men’s World Cup that FIFA probably started considering changing their point structure to encourage attacking soccer. In that tournament, Italy played 3 first round games without winning a game and only scoring 2 goals but they managed to advance because they also only gave up 2 goals. That was enough to allow Italy to go through to the next round.

As it turned out, they ended up winning the World Cup but it only came after they started scoring. In their last 3 games they scored 8 goals. But playing negative soccer was not attractive so FIFA introduced the 3 point system whereby a win was worth 3 points instead of 2 while a tie was still worth only one point. Today, it would be unlikely that a team can go to the next round with only 3 ties.

Nonetheless, goals are still hard to come by thus far in the 2015 Women’s World Cup. If you take away some lopsided scores, which are probably a result of some weaker teams being entered into the competition due to more teams being allowed in the finals, scoring would still be very low.

Courtesy of Les Jones, Covershots, Inc.

Courtesy of Les Jones, Covershots, Inc.

So far, in 62.4% of games only 1 goal was needed for a team to win the game. Staggering when you think about it isn’t it? Only 1 goal can win you over 50% of soccer games. Are the goalkeepers that good?

Maybe teams are playing as though they are afraid to lose in fear of being eliminated from the tournament. We did see goal scoring go up in the 2014 Men’s World Cup, so let’s hope that as we move to must-win games that teams will need at least 2 goals to win a game instead of 1. That would be more enjoyable to watch too. And don’t forget, that you also cannot win without scoring a goal!

Thanks for reading. John DeBenedictis – Author: The Last 9 Seconds: The Secrets to Scoring Goals on The Last Touch (DeBenedictis Books 2013)

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