World Cup…whatever. But the BBC's coverage online of the penalty kick conclusion of the Netherlands-Costa Rica match is perfect.
The green blur in the photo above is Tim Krul, the Dutch goalkeeper, who was successful in blocking the shot. As a result, the Netherlands won. Krul was put into the game after regulation play, just to handle the penalty shots! Imagine the risk taken by coach Louis van Gaal! He pulls the keeper who has let in zero goals during the game and puts in a new guy whose record blocking penalty kicks in the pro league is 2 stopped out of 20!
As commentator Alan Shearer said before the result was in:
"It’s a massive call. Tim Krul has faced 20 penalties for Newcastle and saved two… that is not a great record. This is what you get paid for as a manager - you make big, big calls and this is a massive call. It either works for him, or it goes against him."
It worked. And rather than waste several hours watching the game, I recommend the BBC site’s perfect commentary and photos:
Now let me make a familiar complaint against football. When two of the world’s best teams play an entire game and neither team scores a goal…doesn’t that tell you something about the design of the sport?
It is flawed. And as a result, the match was decided by penalty kicks, which are 50% skill and 50% luck. That’s fine if we’re playing a pick-up game at the park. But in a world-class sport and the ultimate level of skill? Not good enough. Sorry.