There’s a beautiful sense of joy that comes from watching 22 men strut their stuff on a football field for 90 whole minutes, but regardless of who you support, there’s another indescribable ecstasy in watching penalty shoot-outs!
We’ve seen some incredibly dramatic ones in the past – nobody will ever forget the 2010 World Cup tie between Uruguay and Ghana. That one had everything, right down to the final spot-kick that broke millions of hearts in Africa.
Some say the joy comes from the unpredictable nature of spot-kicks, some say the joy comes from watching even some of the biggest names in world football crumble under pressure. Either way, it’s always fun watching England bottle it up, isn’t it?
UEFA are now testing a new format for spot-kicks at the European under 17s Championships, which kicked off this week. This new format is called the ABBA format, which means Team A takes the first spot kick, followed by two spot kicks from Team B.
The new format is supposedly designed to reduce the advantage possessed by teams who win the coin toss and get to kick first. According to UEFA: “The hypothesis is that the player taking the second kick in the pair is under greater mental pressure. If the opposition’s first penalty in the pair has been successful, a miss by the second penalty-taker in the pair could mean the immediate loss of a match for his team, especially from the fourth pair of penalties onwards.”
Hence, at the ongoing European U-17 Championships, the coin toss will be used to determine two things – which end the penalties are being taken as well as who takes the first and fourth spot kicks.
What are your thoughts on this new format?