Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



Two premier international soccer tournaments are currently going on: Copa America and the European Football Championships.

Three of the quarterfinal games in Copa America were decided by penalty kicks. Same with two quarterfinals in the European Football Championships.

In the Copa, PKs take place when the game is tied after the regulation 90 minutes.

In the Euros, it happens when the game is tied after the regulation 90 minutes and 30 minutes of extra time. (The final match at the Copa will play extra time if needed.)

The usual suspects in the media are complaining about the use of PKs. "KEEP PLAYING 'TIL THERE'S A WINNER! IT SHOULDN'T BE DECIDED ON PENALTIES!"

It's people who watch 2-3 soccer games per year, just the big international competitions, and think they know what's best for the sport. The same dorks who want to change the offside rule.

It's a 90-minute game. Thirty more when extra time comes into play.

Limited substitution. The field is 115 yards by 75 yards. Constant running.

You can't play forever. The game slows, and scoring becomes even less likely. Fatigue makes teams bunker in.

It's not the NFL, where you have 11 minutes of actual action per game.

It's not baseball, where everybody mostly stands still.

It's certainly not golf.

If tournament soccer played extra time 'til a goal was scored, it would leave the winner all the more shattered for the next game.

Soccer is fine the way it is. PKs are an acceptable and logical way to decide a match given the realities of soccer.

You almost never hear a true aficionado of the game complain about PKs. Just outsiders.

England v Switzerland: Quarter-Final - UEFA EURO 2024

Photo: Carl Recine / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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