Sports Letters: What's wrong with shoot-out

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The Independent Online
Sir: I don't think I will ever understand the attitude of football people to the penalty shoot-out.

After years of sterile football and inevitable falling crowds, the last two seasons or so have been a breath of fresh air. We have seen the re-emergence of great individual players, prolific goalscorers and wonderfully attractive club sides such as Manchester United and Newcastle. It can be no coincidence that the crowds are now flocking back. Added to that, the changes to the interpretation of the laws of the game produced what most people agree was the best World Cup since 1970.

Again, the most important factor in the success was excitement. So why on earth can't the penalty shoot-out be promoted as thrilling? Anyone who sampled the drama at Villa Park on Thursday knows the real meaning of excitement in sport. There is no ideal solution, but I'm also pretty certain that for excitement, nothing will beat the penalty shoot-out. Let's leave well alone and enjoy the game.

Yours sincerely,

CLIVE OSEMAN

Billesley, Birmingham

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