MIGHT AS WELL FLIP A COIN
The US Women put up a great fight in the World Cup final. They lost to Japan on penalties.
That's how it works in major soccer tournaments. If it's tied after the full 90 minutes, they play 2 15-minute halves of overtime. If it's still tied then it comes down to penalty kicks. It's basically 5 shots each from 12 yards out, most goals wins.
They have to settle it somehow. It's just a shame that it comes down to what is essentially a different competition. It feels a little like deciding a soccer game by playing a couple of innings of softball. (I would make the same argument if the US happened to win the penalty shootout.)
I've often argued that, given a few lucky breaks, a high school team could beat a national team...at a penalty shootout. They would get destroyed by the national team in a full soccer match.
It comes down to a little luck..usually bad luck. Quite often a player takes a penalty shot so poorly that it's an easy save, or it misses the goal completely. It takes skill to be a good enough player to be on the team. All of those player have the skill to score on a penalty kick...it's usually bad luck when they miss.
I know it takes skill to perform under pressure. I know it takes skill for the goalkeeper to make the save, even on a poorly taken penalty. These are good arguments and I can't refute them...I still feel like it's a different game.
In some major tournaments they used to schedule a re-match..that's just not practical.
The penalty shootout is probably the best solution...it's just not a very good one.
We'll talk again soon