What if… there were more goals in soccer?
Xxx World Cup 1994; change of tendency; three-point rule; perspective players, coaches, media, spectators; referee decisions are clammy, then no more? xxx
Proving that it would be an “improvement” for soccer is not even such an easy task. First of all, because one would have to define the pretence “improvement” – which would be welcome at any time, and this arbitrarily applicable, not only in soccer but everywhere in life – a little bit more precisely: what would be a recognized improvement? Here there are already differences. Not only because people could feel it differently, but because there are different forms of participation, thus different points of view.
Players, coaches, fans and other spectators should be mentioned – as a rough subdivision.
For a player, it looks like you don’t necessarily care about the goals. You play, you move, you do your sport, you want to help the team, you have your task and would prefer not to lose with it. So goals are kind of neutral, overall. We like to score goals, but we’d rather not concede any. But if it was more in the end, which one has achieved, then still joy and celebration is announced. Still, the bottom line is: you don’t (primarily) care about them.
As a coach, you are under pressure – if you stay in the professional field for now, although even amateur and youth coaches have this phenomenon. The pressure is primarily built up by the media. “Football is purely a results sport” these have proclaimed – and ensure that it is valid. Otto Rehhagel was probably one who recognized this ahead of time. Thus he introduced the “controlled offense” in the realization that the spectator would like to see attacking soccer, but that the result nevertheless takes precedence. In this context, he also recognized that “whoever wins has played well.
Conclusion related to the coaches: they are also not really interested in many goals. Gladly, if their own make some, but a 1-0 is also enough. Whereby one should still take note that defending is easier than attacking. At least the way soccer is currently “regulated” and how these rules are interpreted and applied (more on this in the corresponding other chapters). But moreover, why is defending easier? It’s because today players are all physically on the same level. There is enough air for 90 minutes. Even if there is the occasional “tired play”: not even running after the ball takes too much energy. You hang in there. At the same time, the defenders are generally inferior in terms of ball skills, but these are not required for pure destruction. To mention one last aspect: the striker would have only one destination, where the ball must finally land, so that the attack brings a countable result. All other directions are open to the defender. As an example: two players go for a header in the penalty area. For the striker, the round has to go into the square – and it’s not that huge compared to the entire other spectrum, which is open to the defender. Apart from the fact that there is also a goalkeeper in the goal. So: if you absolutely have to bring results – which is acknowledged to be the case — then you concentrate, maybe even in training, more on defensive play. First of all, don’t concede a goal, then you’ll be fine…
Now you could deal with the fans. Here, too, it would be quite clear: many goals with pleasure, as long as they are scored. No conceded goals would also be desirable. So: even if a slightly different perspective — since one may of course already assume that entertainment would have to play a role for them –, but still the quite clear distribution: result goes before, the desire per own team aligned. So: many goals don’t matter, the main thing is that we can celebrate.
Whereby one might at least note that a) it would be absolutely right for them if there were many goals and theirs had scored more of them (which is not necessarily the case with trainers; for one game perhaps it is, but one would probably worry more about the defense and put the focus there in the next training; motto: in front was ok, at the back we have to work), b) there are definitely not only fanatical supporters of a team, but also “quite normal” fans who continue to have joy when there are goals, even if the opponent succeeds once.
Nevertheless also here quite clearly: a multiplicity of goals is not explained concern of the fans. The result still comes first.
Now there would only be the neutral spectator. Here, it would be quite reasonable to assume that he would like to see goals, but the question is whether he is present at all. So: does he go to the stadium or switch on the television as soon as a game is on in which he has no clear favorite? A game without passion for a team? Whereby there is still usually (worldwide) more than one team to keep one’s fingers crossed for. So the local small club, the selected Bundesliga team, maybe even from an international league a team (How about Real Madrid?) and then mostly the teams from their own country, if they meet international competition in Europe and finally the national team, as one may like to imply. However, there would still be a higher number of games to watch in which a potential viewer would still be neutral. Now he would only have to turn on the TV or go to the stadium. Would he do that? Only then would he be a “neutral spectator”, otherwise just neutral without watching.
Exactly this however one of the explosive questions and/or the answer with the question of the title in connection standing: he does not look it presumably. He is not present. So he would not care about the number of goals.
Before the general answer is to be given now, still another small preliminary consideration: one would have so far as good as exclusively voices, which would be indifferent whether goals fall. All those involved and present – players, coaches, fans, roughly speaking – don’t care if many goals are scored. Goals for their own: welcome and the more the better. One for the opponent: already one too many. So what could it matter whether there are more goals and whether anyone cares at all?
With a slight delay now the answer, in the style of an assertion, to the explosive question: the neutral spectator does not watch a game without his own participation because there are too few events that could make it palatable to him, i.e. because there are too few goals.
More goals would therefore mean more neutral spectators. And here one may very well claim that this multitude of available neutral – if one refers to the First Bundesliga alone, then it would be a factor of eight; one game with own participation, eight without – clearly dwarfs that of those directly involved. This potential audience would have to be “wooed,” so to speak.
Whereby the claim goes even further: one would not only be able to achieve a factor of eight, but a much higher one than that. As soon as many more people realize that there is actually soccer here and that there is a lot going on and that something is happening every now and then, then many people who have already turned away and many new people who would otherwise turn to another game or sport would also be won over or won back.
Alternatively, one could ask as a counter question, to what extent a higher number of goals could do any harm? Because: even if the participants and spectators would not necessarily derive a higher attractiveness from it – i.e. would not demand “more goals” per se –, then the question would still be whether they would suffer any damage.
The players have already been talked about, and their perspective did not change. “More goals, so what? I have my job, I play this position, I get to go forward once in a while, otherwise I have to keep an eye on my opponent, and he’s really fast and tricky, so watch out! Otherwise I pass the ball when I find a teammate free and I’m supposed to keep the game simple, probably because I’m not that good at dribbling and because I also have my problems with complicated balls.” The team is in the foreground, you put yourself in its service. One more goal than the opponent would be nice. But otherwise? Doesn’t matter.
For the coaches, it would look a little different. They’d like to score a lot of goals, but not go down with flying colors? “He lets hurrah soccer play and if it goes well once, they even win. Only it did not go well often enough, so he is now no longer a coach, either here or elsewhere.” Still, it would be obvious, of course, that if there were more goals overall, everyone would have to keep an eye on the attacking efforts. So, “Today we were really good.” “Why, what makes you think that? What happened?” “Well, the opponent only scored one goal and they were averaging three per game so far!” “Ouh, that’s really great. And how many have you scored?” “Well, none at all, but that’s not what we were talking about.” Or maybe it was? It’s no use: still you’re not allowed to lose, that may be (although here, too, a “rethink” by the media would be conceivable; today’s winner: soccer; and maybe not a loser at all, despite a 5:3?).
From the coach’s point of view, this aspect should be decisive: if you can be fairly sure that the opponent will score one or the other goal anyway, simply because there are any at all, and more than before, then you also have to think about attacking. At the latest after the first goal against, but preferably before.
So: the coaches would already be asked, what offensive efforts would be. One already has the impression – “thanks” to Huub Stevens – that many teams today are already calculating the final whistle at kickoff: if we don’t concede one, we can’t lose. It’s still 0:0 and it’s not that long?
Conclusion would be: if there were more goals, there would inevitably be – just partly even as a consequence – more offensive spirit. A kind of “inflation effect”.
For the real fans it would be guaranteed an enrichment, a majority of goals. The argumentation here is quite simple: the fan camps neutralize each other anyway, so with every goal scored there are on average just as many mourners as rejoicing fans. That cancels itself out. But there would still be a positive effect: if a team concedes a goal, the despair would be a little bit less. Because: due to the higher number of total goals, the hope would be significantly higher to equalize or even turn the game around – if one is ever behind.
The conclusion would be quite clear: no damage, instead only advantages.
A few points would still be worth mentioning in the sense of “proving” that actually everyone would have the desire for more goals.
Here, a short historical review is worthwhile: when the World Cup was awarded to the USA in 1994, they had the dream of being allowed to have an influence as hosts. The general thesis, which has been put forward elsewhere, is anyway that in the USA they know how to market something well. One simply examines the relevant aspects there and knows and includes what the spectator wants to see – and ready would be a tasty soup.
The rules officials had a hard time getting on board with the U.S. proposals. The host wanted to see more goals, simple as that. This was expected to create a much greater spectacle for themselves and the world. And the USA made some suggestions. The officials did the best they could and adopted only a few good ideas (the backpass rule, the three-point rule, giving the attacker the benefit of the doubt for offside). This is not to be examined in detail, not here, but just to serve as a little proof. And if the USA propose this and have recognized it, is there already a bit more to it?
Speaking of the three-point rule: this is also not examined more closely at this point, but also herewith a certain proof is provided that one has somehow recognized among the rule makers: a little more tension would do well. And this is generated by more goals, which would be desirable to score if the game was tied – not even a rare case – and there was not much time left to play. No ball pushing but all forward, get the three. The change did not bring anything – explained in detail elsewhere — but nevertheless suitable as proof: more goals desired, also on the part of FIFA.
Another point in the course of “proving” that more goals would be good is that you can simply ask yourself which games spontaneously come to mind from the past. What are the games with memory value? It’s hard to imagine, for example, that even the not-so-rare representative with a strong spirit of contradiction (“What’s the point of scoring more goals? I think it’s good the way it is, and when the goal is scored, you’re not only doubly happy, but ten times happier.”) would now produce a 0:0 or 1:0 as if shot out of a pistol. Rather, he would have to try to quickly erase the memory of that 4:3, which wanted to creep in, in a makeshift and probably slightly embarrassed manner. “Yes, you did think of it, it was clearly seen.” “No, I didn’t.” “Did you!” “I didn’t!” But he did…
It’s okay to write it down like this, armed against contradiction: it’s games with lots of goals that stick in the memory. The action is related to goals. A turned game, a changing lead, late drama that could not be “final whistle” in any case. Goals, goals, goals. That’s memorable, that was fun.
As a further small proof may be the reporter saying often heard before games, with which these almost “accidentally” become confessors and somehow and allegedly yes would have to be the voice of the people? “Let’s wish for a nice game with lots of goals”. Otherwise one would simply think of nothing, with which one could express an anticipation – in the case a national league play, with which one would have to be “nautral”, at least as a speaker -: “A tough play without many chances” or ” a careful Abtasten” or a “neutralizing of the teams” or a “lurking on the first mistake” or “a dirty victory”, which is then usually a 1:0-flurry one could sell, despite sufficiently much experience with it, hardly as tuning fanfare. In short: if you wanted to watch soccer just like that, you could only wish for goals.
A summary – to extend the circumstantial chain mentioned here – consists of the highlights. Highlights are taken from English, but one translates effortlessly into “highlights”. Either way: something is likely to be omitted from the highlights at will. But under no circumstances the goals. And if one thought it “naively” briefly to the end, only would come out: “The more, the better.”
Whereby one could clearly come up against an upper limit here. Just to give two examples: in a summary of a basketball or handball game, you would not find all the hits under any circumstances. With ice hockey, on the other hand, you would. Upper limit?
The argument of the “upper limit” is to be taken quite seriously, because the contradiction spirit is by no means completely wrong. The rarer the event, the greater the joy when it does happen. But there are two relevant questions: a) maybe some people don’t even watch a game anymore, because the waiting time for the lucky event seems to be too long for them, with an average of thirty minutes for a goal? And b): wouldn’t the cumulative joy of, for example, three goals in a game be greater than the admittedly enormous joy of the one single goal? Like this: 3 times 0.5 is still greater than 1 * 1.
The goals are the salt in the soup. And this image can be used brilliantly: how much more salt would be good for the soup before it would be oversalted? Maybe it is a bit too watery at the moment? And if really too much : then one would still have the nice explanation of the cook in love. However, not everything that limps is a comparison… Gates are good, salt is good, both in appropriate quantities. How many goals are appropriate to make it fun? Currently too few. This is what this text stands for, as well as quite a few others to back it up.
Now, so far, the talk here has been about goals in general. The round into the square or so. The goal impact, at which the tension turns into pure joy. Okay, the fans of the team that concedes the goal may be disappointed, but even then it can happen that you pay respect, take off your hat or even clap. Superbly done, you simply have to acknowledge that. Nice goal, you deserve it. Thus not even the “neutralizing” of the joy would be fulfilled with a fallen goal, but the positive part predominates – times so incidentally noticed.
Goals are and remain somewhere the goal of the game. They are what counts and with what you can determine winners. Without goals the game would not work at all.
But there is another thought behind it, which is impossible to ignore, in the advertising for more goals put on paper here. This would be the tension aspect. A kind of generally felt tension. Not just the one related to this attack and finish but the overarching one related to game outcome and season progression.
Now there is a separate section about this, so here only briefly referred to and reminded: goals can provide for trend changes. One team is leading, the other team equalizes, takes the lead itself. That would be a kind of tension, which could occur, of course, only through goals. The tension would be: can it happen? Is it worth waiting for it? As a fan: to hope for it or to fear it? How often does it happen that a game is turned around? If very rarely: why and how to hope for it? Today: “Half-time score: 0:1. Oh man, lost again.” Or tomorrow: “It’s 1:3. Everything is still possible.”
Of course, this would also apply extended to the course of the season. If it’s possible to turn a game around, then it’s also possible, for example in a conference, to count on twists and turns in the standings, in the relegation question, for the championship, for European Cup entry, and to build up more suspense in this way. In general, the wait for a goal would be shortened and thus one could certainly expect increased tension, also among the spectators or among the commentators. More goals = more excitement = more action = more fun.
And yet, the all-important aspect was saved for last. Because: if there were more goals, the value of a single goal would be lower. In this respect, one would not be so afraid (as a referee, but also in the post-evaluation) to let a goal count, to let an action run, to not indicate possible offside. A single goal no longer decides a game, so the willingness in the making would be significantly increased, not to look for a hair in the soup (salt and hair there is therefore, aha…) but to give the strikers the right of way.
The sloppy interpretation and application of the rules is a consequence of the few hits in a game. When in doubt, the man on the line prefers to raise the flag. “I’m not sure, but if I let him go and that was a mistake it’s 1-0, they lose the game and it’s my fault. Flag up!” Intuitive, but almost always in this direction. With penalties, exactly the same thinking: “Was that really a very clear foul? Ouh, I’m not sure. I’d rather not take a penalty before I’m guilty of one winning and especially one losing.” With more goals logical: “let run quietly, is no problem. 1:2 and still so much time on the clock? They can turn at any time. Keep the flag down, you’re allowed to do it anyway, according to the rules.” Also in the penalty area. “That was a foul, so penalty kick. The game is far from over after that, even if the 4:2 falls here.”
At the same time, an equally distributed interpretation would already be sufficient to provide for significantly more goals. If one would actually lay out in doubtful cases for the strikers? Admittedly, this was only an attempt by the USA, because they noticed (immediately) that something was wrong. In this respect, the suggestion to “give the strikers the benefit of the doubt” is more or less correct. However, if this were to be done permanently, it would be a permanent decision in favor of soccer, according to the opinion expressed here. The strikers are the ones who should score the goals, who want to play soccer and who can thus gladden our hearts, defenders are the ones who want to prevent playing. Why not give the strikers a few more rights?
The result would be an overall inflation of goals. However, all of them would be scored within the current rules.
Conclusion: there would only be advantages. The problem of oversaturation can be completely ruled out for the time being. Apart from the fact that the goals would all fall just by applying existing rules, as explained in more detail in other passages. It would take almost a tiny amount of rethinking.
And if at some point there were too many, one could still think about making the gates smaller, just for fun, to reverse a suggestion made to the U.S. in 1994? “Help, people are running away because it keeps clanging. We have to do something about that! Make the goals smaller, maybe we’ll finally have a 0:0 again?” Hard to imagine, isn’t it?
More goals would do us good. In every respect.