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Penalty Shoot-outs: Some alternatives

vatsan mufc
2.07K   //    17 Dec 2012, 20:20 IST

Each time a game goes into extra time, penalty shoot-outs loom large in everyone’s mind. Penalties produce the most exhilarating and heartbreaking moments alike, the reason being it’s touch and go. It’s impossible to predict which way the table would turn. But as Martin Tyler says time and again in FIFA, no one has come up with anything better either. Blame it on luck, but a certain team (aka England) never emerge triumphant from shoot outs in major competitions, while others have struck gold (notably in the Champions League finals 2008 and 2012 in the recent past). Here forth I present you some alternatives (viable or not is up to you to decide), which in my opinion can be used as tiebreakers.

1. Corner Kicks

The Scenario:

Each team will be awarded five corner kicks with the luxury to choose their side. The list of kick takers as in the case of penalties are to be declared to the referee before hand. Each time the ball lands in the back of the net, the attacking team gets 3 points. But the catch here is that the shot on goal must be from inside the box for the goal to be valid. The defending team should try to clear the ball away from the box. Once the ball is outside the box the play ends and the game progresses with another corner kick. As in normal play, if the defending team clears the ball beyond the goal line, the attacking team gets an extra corner kick (to be taken by the same player). Bonus corner kicks are not awarded for consecutive clearances beyond the goal line. I.E. a team can only take a maximum of 10 corner kicks whatsoever (1 extra kick possible for each of the 5 corner kicks). The play remains continuous as long as the ball remains inside the box. Once the ball goes outside, the play ends and points are awarded as applicable.


Attacking Team: 3 Points for a valid goal as defined above.

Defending Team: 1 Point for a clearance outside the box but not beyond the goal line.

No points for scoring from outside the box or clearing the ball beyond the goal line.



Corner kicks invariably and inadvertently invite fouls into the picture. Any foul committed by the attacking team ends the play instantaneously. Fouls by the defending team except those that result in the denial of clear goal scoring opportunities, lead to retake of the kick. If a clear goal scoring opportunity is denied by any foul(subject to referee’s discretion), 3 points are awarded to the attacking team. Deliberate handballs invite a penalty of 1 point.(Again the above rule of denying goal scoring opportunities is applicable).

2. Free Kicks

The Scenario:

When it comes to free kicks, there is a plethora of positions from which goals have been scored. For the sake of competitiveness, 25 yards is a fair enough distance (again in my opinion). Here too, each team gets 5 free kicks to be taken by 5 different players. Free kicks can be taken from any position provided the shortest distance to the goal is 25 yards and the mandatory clearance gap is maintained by the defence’s wall. A maximum of 4 players can be utilised by the defending team to formulate the wall. No player apart from the kick taker from the attacking team is involved. In this case, the play ends immediately after the ball is cleared/saved by the wall/keeper. Ball hitting the post or going out of bounds also results in the end of play.


Attacking Team : 5 Points for a goal.

Defending Team : 1 Point for a wall clearance. 2 Points for a save by the keeper (only for shots on target).

No points awarded if the ball hits the post or goes out of bounds.

Fouls : 

Owing to the fact that this is less free flowing, that precludes most of foul play.

3. Statistics

Yes that’s right. The final alternative is to decide the winner by game stats. The best possible method at our disposal to eliminate ultra defensive approach by teams banking to win on penalties. This is rather straightforward. The winner is decided by evaluating a parameter I call the Performance Index(PI). PI accounts for everything a team has done on the pitch. It takes into consideration the possession, shots on target and shots saved.  Here’s how PI is calculated.

PI = (P + SF)/2

P = Total possession of team in question (as a fraction).

SF = Fraction shots on target = Shots on target by the team in question/TS.

TS = Total shots on target = Shots on target by Team 1 + Shots on target by Team 2

The team with a higher PI (which is always between 0 and 1) is the winner. As said earlier, PI encompasses possession, the offensive performance (shots on target) and defensive performance (the shots on target of the opposition is also accounted for).

vatsan mufc
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