Friday, 9 p.m.
Maybe it's because I picked Ghana to win or maybe it's because my parents met each other in Accra, thus creating the opportunity for my very existence (puke), but I'm not sure that the result of this match is exactly fair.
Ask yourself this: Is a scoring opportunity from 12 yards against a professional goalkeeper permitted to use any part of his body to save the ball an equitable trade for an intentional, goal-saving handball by an outfield player standing on the goal line against a header from four yards?
It is not. I think it should be like a goaltending call in basketball. The goal should have counted.
What value is the red card to Luis Suarez to Ghana when this is going to be the last kick of the match?
Not a lot. At the very least, shouldn't Suarez have been forced to save a penalty kick from four yards using any part of his body other than his hands or arms?
And anyway, is a penalty shootout, however dramatic and thrilling, a satisfactory way to end a World Cup knockout game? Or any game?
It is not. For those of you unfortunate enough to have been reading my World Cup blog since 2002, you know I've been consistent on this. But, finally, I have some solutions:
Six better ways to end a soccer game than a penalty shootout
Additional extra time with no goalkeepers
Obviously, this would give England, who have played this way for years, a massive advantage.
Cageless cage fight in center circle
Each team nominates one player. Fight ends when ref determines that one player is critically injured and not acting.
Managers play one-on-one in suits
I would pay anything to watch Maradona and Jogi Low go at each other. It would be a mess. Five minutes on the clock and nonstop scoring. Maradona might get off to a fast start but would be on his back, perhaps gasping for a cigarette, by the third minute.
National anthem sing-off
Vuvuzelas silenced, PA system turned up, both teams perform their national anthems with no musical accompaniment. Worldwide audience votes by text message in real time. Choreography optional.
Shots off the crossbar or post during regular time worth one one-tenth of a goal each
Would perhaps make penalties completely unnecessary. And finally we'd know for sure whether the post or the crossbar has had a better tournament.
Each team gets to introduce a live animal every five minutes in extra time
Do you pick an animal that can be trained to have soccer skills? Or a predator who might actually take a chunk out of someone's leg? Or is it a national animal? Eagles for America and Nigeria. Elephants for the Ivory Coast. Lions for England. Desert foxes for Algeria. Specially trained kangaroos for Australia you get the idea.
Anyway, congratulations Uruguay. You've made the entire nation of Holland extremely happy.