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The Golden Goal
Last night, I watched a replay of the Euro ’96 final on ESPN Classic. It was a game decided on a Golden Goal, when Oliver Bierhoff’s shot glanced off of the hand of Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Kouba to give Germany the title, and has me pondering the nature of deciding games that are tied after 90 minutes. Penalties get a lot of stick as being contrary to the spirit of the game on the whole (and they mostly are), but no one is calling for the return of the Golden Goal. It seems we’d rather watch spot kicks until a winner is decided than have the game end the moment a goal is scored.
Which I understand better after watching Germany celebrate at the end of the Euro ’96 final. The German fans celebrated, the German team celebrated, Czech players littered the field, the whole scene should have been brilliant. And yet, there was something missing. Maybe it was the nature of Bierhoff’s goal—it was hardly spectacular—or maybe it was the fact that the Golden Goal rule was new to the tournament that year; whatever it was, the dramatic moment felt decidedly undramatic. That’s not a reason to now play with the Golden Goal rule, but as a fan, it makes me even less inclined to want the rule back.
Defensive football was the reason the rule was abolished. Teams played not to lose, rather than to win, making extra time periods drab and unexciting. I’m not sure how this is any different than the situation now, when teams obviously and shamelessly play for penalties, but I think I’d rather the tense moments of alternating spot kicks rather than watching two teams descend in to slow motion kickarounds.
As a concept, especially to ice hockey fans, the Golden Goal sounds great. In practice, it’s anything but.
|PHOTO: HE WHO HOLDS THE BREAD GETS TO EAT IT. NANDO WANTS HIM SOME BREAD.|
A bemused Fernando Llorente is left holding the traditional gift of bread as Spain arrive at their Polish base. More on this in a later link. (Reuters)
|I CAN’T DECIDE IF THIS WOULD BE WORSE IF IT WAS THE REAL RONALDO. WAX DUMMIES CREEP ME OUT.|
This is totally disturbing, and you should be ashamed of yourself attractive-young-lady-who-is-feeling-up-a-wax-statue-of-Cristiano-Ronaldo. Shudder. // Kickette
|DEEP BREATHS, YOU GUYS. FIFA’S RACKET IS SAFE FOR YET ANOTHER WORLD CUP. IT’S GONNA BE OKAY.|
Brazilian president Dilma Rouseff finally signed off on the controversial law that lets FIFA
get away with whatever it wants run the World Cup. // Inside World Football
|TAKE A DEEP BREATH. PUT YOUR HANDS ABOVE YOUR HEAD. NOW STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD.|
Dear victimized-by-the-mainstream-sports-media North American soccer fans. Relax. That guy on ESPN Radio made a dumb mistake. He didn’t denigrate The Beautiful Game. // The Footy Blog
|PHOTO: WHAT, NO BREAD? THIS IS AN OUTRAGE. THE IRISH LOVE BREAD.|
The welcome the Irish received to their Polish base in Gdynia involved a giant Irish flag, with no bread in sight. (Reuters)
|I COULD REALLY GO FOR A BIG BREAD RIGHT NOW. SHOULD HAVE MADE THE TRIP FOR THE EUROS.|
The people of Gniewino present Fernando Llorrente with the traditional welcome gifts of bread and salt. Hilarity ensues. That bread looks really tasty, by the way. // Dirty Tackle
|WHEN INTERRUPT THIS BROADCAST TO BRING YOU A MESSAGE TO ENGLAND FROM ITS HAT.|
A concerned Scotsman pens a letter of concern to England, because he actually wants them to succeed. It’s like an estranged cousin showing up and giving you a pep talk before your big job interview. Weeeeiiiirrrrdddd. // A Football Report
|THIS WOULD ALSO PASS FOR A DRAWING OF STEVEN SEGAL AS A DUCK. IT’S THE PONYTAIL.|
This Swedish Donald Duck illustration featuring Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a duck will immediately brighten your day. // 101GG
|PHOTO: MEANWHILE, IN UKRAINE. UM, THIS PROBABLY ISN’T A PHOTO UEFA WANT TO SEE.|
Ongoing strife over language in Ukraine (it involved Russia) it juxtaposing the countdown to the Euros with protesters and riot police. (Reuters)
|IF YOU’VE EVER WONDERED IF TELEVISION PUNDITS DO ANY FORM OF BASIC RESEARCH, THE ANSWER IS ‘NO.’|
BBC pundit Alan Hansen had a bit of a blunder when he picked four teams for the Euro semis that can’t actually all make it to Euro semis. Nice one. // Off the Post
|FUNNY HOW ALL THE PLAYERS WITH POINTS TO PROVE ARE THE PLAYERS WITH ALL THE HEADLINES. WHAT ABOUT THAT ONE GUY NO ONE TALKS ABOUT?|
Seven players with points to prove at the European Championships. // Bleacher Report
|MAYBE THE FIREWORKS SHOULD COME OUT OF THE GOAL. OR THE BALL COULD BURST INTO FLAMES. OR SUDDENLY AN ORCHESTRA APPEARS OUT OF NO WHERE TO GIVE THE WIN A KICK ASS SOUNDTRACK.|
All of those ideas are terrible and wouldn’t make a Golden Goal victory any better, but I still want to see every one of them happen in a game at some point. Follow and like KCKRS. We’re the best at footy culture Golden Goals.