Plukes on the Face of the Beautiful Game?

So far, in this World Cup, in how many games has the lead changed sides? Hint- a small round number less than one. All games have either been drawn or won by the first team to score. This is the tedious norm in modern football. The game is fundamentally flawed. And the main reason is its refusal to evolve. Rugby Union continually amends its code to make the game better for player and spectator alike. International Cricket reinvented itself completely, first with the ODI, then with T20. T20 isn't particularly to my taste, but I'd never deny its huge success.
Meanwhile, Association Football limps along, sometimes literally, through a morass of dull games, bad decisions, injuries and fouls. Especially fouls. It's in the nature of the game that it is always played on the brink of the foul. This makes it an unsavoury spectacle for the most part, albeit punctuated with flashes of brilliance, like Brazil's two goals against North Korea. These were exceptional. But thirty seconds of joy in ninety minutes play is a bad deal by any standards.
It's incumbent on any critic not just to carp but to suggest improvements, so here are mine:
Goals in the run of play should count for more than penalties. One point for a penalty, two for a real goal. This would allow the lead to change sides, e.g. from 1:2 to 3:2 with a single score.
Substitutions, except when a player is injured by a foul, should entail a five minute delay between taking a man off and fielding his replacement. The risk of having to play with ten men for five minutes would encourage managers to field teams of eleven guys fit enough to last the whole game.
2014, anyone?


  1. There is only one code of football worth watching, Australian Rules Football. Check it out on Showtime over the weekend. Aussie Rules is "reputedly" the world's oldest football code being codified in Melbourne Australia in 1858. The following is a review of the various codes: If memory serves me correctly we have had this discussion before. Cheers and keep up the great posts, PaulRB-Doha.

  2. Extract from "The Punch" article: The origins of our one true national code, the great game of Australian Rules Football, remain the subject of conjecture. Some argue that it was invented by a couple of black guys kicking the sh*t out of a possum. Others argue it evolved naturally when the Aborigines rejected rugby on the grounds that none of them were stockbrokers, rejected (rugby)league on the basis that they already had enough mindlessly violent initiation rites in their culture, rejected soccer because they didn’t want to spend another 40,000 years dreaming that someone might actually score a goal. PaulRB-Doha.

  3. Hi Paul - yes, we have been round this loop before. The last time was when someone switched away from the International Gymnastics in favour of a Qatar League local football match without asking the assembled company. Aussie Rules and the Union game are both good to watch. Rugby League less so, imho, and FIFA football least of all. Except maybe synchronised swimming?

  4. or your national sport, Curling!!

    I second your suggestions about the points. That alone would have had Newzealand beat Italy!

  5. Hi Nick - it would, wouldn't it! New Zealand done good (football-speak). Ever tried curling? I have, once only, but it's good fun.


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